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Great American Song Contest Finalist! 


We just learned that our song "Let a Day Together Be Christmas" is among the top 10 finalists for the Great American Song Contest in their Special Category (Holiday). A few months ago, Sherry's song "Heads Up" was also announced as a semi-finalist in the rock category for the International Songwriting Competition. These aren't fancy awards, but they are little signs that we're heading in the right direction. It's hard to evaluate one's own art objectively, so little wins like these are welcome positive reinforcements! Time to celebrate with a glass of wine :)

Our New Christmas Album is Out! 


Each year, we pledge to begin work on our Christmas songs early. Each year, we fall short of our goal and find ourselves in an all-too-familiar predicament, working through the Thanksgiving weekend to put the finishing touches on our latest musical creations. (This year had a bit of twist in the culinary department: Chinese takeout on Turkey Day.) 

The challenge, of course, is finding inspiration to write about snow and eggnog and presents under Der Tannebaum when it’s a balmy 90 degrees Fahrenheit in downtown Los Angeles. 

Nonetheless, we did it! And our latest album “Home for the Holidays” is available for downloading at (streaming will be available Dec. 10 or thereabouts). 

As always, we have included some classics and are introducing some new original tunes. 

“Get Me Home for the Holidays” was co-written with Caley Rose, another resident of the greater L.A. basin.

Songwriting is a craft, like any other. It requires practice, diligence, the ability to review and edit your work objectively. And sometimes, a song just seems to fall from the sky. I believe the entire co-writing process on this number was about 2 hours.  It began with a guitar riff from George (our usual starting point), and the lyrics and melody just seemed to fall in place. 

For recording, Caley also takes the lead on the vocals, with Sherry adding harmonies. Sherry and George performed and arranged all the instrumentation (both real and virtual instruments). And Sherry produced this masterpiece, which includes 85 separate tracks. We figure she spent 100 hours in the process. Much of this was a learning curve for her, with many lessons learned. But she is now a bonafide L.A. record producer.

Sometime during the summer, Sherry and George were kicking around some ideas for another original song. We love the slow, melancholic ballads and decided to try our hand at crafting one of these. 

The end result is “Christmas Feels Lost Without You.” 

Once again, the arrangement was by George, based on a guitar riff he had kicking around, and Sherry handled all the production. She put all her learnings from the work on “Get Me Home for the Holidays” to practice, and, thankfully, she was able to polish this one off in far less time. 

“O Holy Night” is a classic hymn performed in a late-night jazz cabaret style, with just George on piano and Sherry on vocals. 

For “Ave Maria,” we stuck to the traditional Schubert melody and style. This number also includes just George on classical guitar and Sherry’s mellifluous voice. 

If you’ve been following our music for the past two years, you’ll recognize “Let A Day Together Be Christmas” and “Have You Noticed the Season?” These tracks are remastered as part of this package. 

We would like to thank Caley Rose for her contributions to our new offering. 

And, as always, a shout out to our friends at StudioPros for mastering our tracks. We’ve been working with Kati O”Toole and the gang at StudioPros for many years now. Kati handles our frantic last-minute requests with aplomb and she and the team always come through for us.


Wine Wednesday Episode 9 

Wine: Dry Creek Winery The Mariner 2013 
Song: Yesterday

Today we travel to Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley to test The Mariner 2013, a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc 

According to Dry Creek Winery, the grapes are grown on a hillside and it provide aromas of blueberry, vanilla and cherries.  

They also say "there's a good balance between juicy dark fruit and oak structure."

The sweetness combined with the dark texture brought to mind a bittersweet ballad by Paul McCartney. It happens to be one of the most covered songs in the history of music. 

Sonoma County is an interesting wine-growing region. Geographically next door (to the west) of Napa, it the Sonoma wine region is twice the size of Napa. But Sonoma produces only half the volume of wine of its more famous neighbor.

Listen/watch our live streaming video every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Pacific time. Available at:


It's Wine Wednesday #8! 

Song: So Good 

Wine: Hess 2014 Chardonnay 

Today we headed south to the Monterey region to sample the Hess Select 2014 Chardonnay. 

Take the warm air from the Central Valley and the moderate breeze blowing in from the ocean. Go up a few feet in elevation. Sandy soil. These elements combine to produce some of the wines like the Hess Chardonnay. 

"Fully ripe flavors that tend to show some lemon and lime zest, a touch of ripe apple and tropical aromas and flavors. We call it crisp and clean, with well balanced acids."

That about describes what you'll experience.

We decided to pair this with one of our more breezy, carefree tunes. We hope you enjoy.

First Impressions 

We waited patiently in the recording studio lobby. Our engineer and his crew were late. 

When they finally shuffled into the facility, they seemed distracted and hurried. They took one glance at us, didn’t even say hello, and then went into the studio, leaving us in the lobby. 

Finally, one of the assistants came and escorted us to our stations. Sherry set up at the piano and I took the spot where I would record guitar. We put our headsets on and the engineer (let’s call him Mitch) was now at the recording console. He clicked on his microphone and rattled off some instructions to us. 

We could see Mitch behind the glass. If we were reading his body language correctly, he was wondering how quickly he could get this project finished and move on to some real work.

Can't say we could blame him. After all, we were unknowns and could have been any amateur vanity act. He had recorded al the professionals and had no idea of what we could do.

The crew had a number of technical things they had to do: setting up microphones, positioning acoustic baffles, etc. And the musicians that we had hired to back us up started to arrive and they also needed assistance.

In all the chaos, Sherry and I were left on our own. So we did what we do every chance we get: we practiced.

After we made it through just a few bars of one our songs, we heard the click in the headsets. It was Mitch again. 

“Hey, George and Sherry,” he said enthusiastically,  “How’s the balance? You guys comfortable?” 

We didn’t know he even knew our names based on the initial reception. Now we were best friends?  Mitch chatted some more pleasantries and told his assistants to drop what they were doing to help us get things adjusted just right. 

We are used to this reaction. Based on first impressions of us, people are skeptical we’re going to have any talent. And then we play. We may be not be earning a living making music, but we approach it professionally. So for the people who make snap judgments and lower their expectations just based on a glance, they seem to walk away impressed. 

It’s now happened more times than we can count (the latest  incident was just last week at a songwriting competition). 

At first this bothered us a bit. We weren't sure if it was a combination of 
agism (how old is that guy?) or sexism (she probably can’t play an instrument) or racism (do Asians even know jazz?).  

Now, we embrace the opportunity to surprise and delight the skeptics.

We’re both introverts so we are not inclined to come into a room and shout for attention.  

But we are far from shy. We know how to perform. We rehearse and polish our material. And we’re passionate and serious about what we do. 

We walked out of the studio that day having recorded with some of the top sessions players in town. They seemed to enjoy our songs and working with us. “Y’all come back and see us some time,” one of them said. 

As for ol’  Mitch, he left humming one of our tunes.

It's Wine Wednesday! Edition No. 7. 

Every Wednesday evening we find a nice bottle of wine from the region (Bay Area) and we "pair" it with a song.

Featured wine: Round Pond Kith and Kin 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon 

Featured song: L'hymne à L'amour 

About the winery 

Located in the acclaimed Rutherford region of Napa Valley, Round Pond is a family-owned and operated estate designed around our vineyards, gardens and orchards. 

Winemaker's Notes 

"Beautifully balanced, this wine jumps out of the glass with aromas of candied cherries, cassis and strawberries with vanilla cream.

"The supple entry opens brightly with intense sweet fresh fruit of blackberry and boysenberry. Softening through the mid-palate, fleshy red fruits of black cherry and rhubarb ..."


92 points on Wine Spectrum 

About the Music 

Today being International Women's Day, we decided to feature a pair of women who were pioneers in popular song during the 1930s, '40s, '50s.

Marguerite Monnot was a child-prodigy classical pianist who turned to writing popular songs after health problems ended her performing career at age 18. 

Édith Piaf, nee Édith Giovanna Gassion,  was a French cabaret singer, songwriter and actress who became widely regarded as France's national chanteuse, as well as being one of France's greatest international stars.[1] 

Together, the duo wrote many songs that are regarded and revered worldwide. 

What's in a name? 

We have been contemplating changing the name of our group.
23rd Hour has some personal significance for us. It was after a marathon 23-hour jam session that we wrote our first song together. We like the name, but it’s not that easy to convey when we are referencing on the radio or over a microphone at a gig. What’s the URL? That’s when we have to get into spelling it out. “It’s 2, 3, R, D, H, R, dot com.”
You can see right there what the problem is. Maybe there’s no easy name when it comes to spelling it out for web sites.
Another problem: people are not good remembering numbers. (Blame it on Google and the Internet. Nobody needs to remember anything anymore when you can search for it.)  We tell them the name, and somehow it ends up 24 hours, or the 11th hour.  And then they’re confused.
And yet one more problem: There’s a cover band with the same name out in Duluth. I don’t think we’re going to face much competition from them here in the Bay Area, but still, if you search for 23rd Hour you’ll come across them and wonder how we’re going to make it back to Mountain View or San Jose for our next gig.
So, what do you think? Keep it? Change it? And if so, to what?