Scarlet Street Players Debut September 5 at Live Music on the Canal

Mark your calendars for Friday, September 5th for the debut performance of Shelly Phelps and the Scarlet Street Players!  We will be performing for the 5th Annual Live Music on the Canal Festival on the Jazzmo’z Bourbon Street Cafe patio stage from 8:30 – 9:30 pm.

Jazzmoz

The Scarlet Street Players are Rob Vollmar on lead guitar, Dave Cochran on bass guitar, Chris Foreman on drums, and Shelly Phelps on vocals. You will be the first to hear all the songs that will be on the upcoming Beautiful and Burdened album, so save the date and we will see you there

Rock on with your bad selves,
Shel

Introducing “Shelly Phelps and The Scarlet Street Players”

It’s time you met the cats that are the, “The Scarlet Street Players”! I’m thrilled to make music with these guys … my brothers from other Mothers.

Rob VollmarRob Vollmar – Lead Guitar:
Rob is a constant knowledge seeker, intelligent, and enormously gifted. Many of you know Rob from our previous collaborations, “Shelly Phelps and The Rhythm Junkies” and “The Shelly Phelps Band” as well as our many acoustic duo performances. Rob has also played for Brother Tentacle, Buddhist Prodigy, The Burtschi Brothers, Joel Melton, Circe, and Cousin Oliver. In addition to his music talents, Rob is also an author of graphic novels.

Chris Foreman

Chris Foreman – Drums:
Chris is a force of nature … a barely containable ball of energy with a mischievous sense of humor. He is an outdoor enthusiast, a connoisseur of beer, and you can frequently find him in his kitchen cooking up something delectable. Chris is a savvy drummer with a producer’s ears and endless creativity. He has also played for bands such as BigSkinHearts, Honey Wagon, The Burtschi Brothers, Camille Harp, and Travis Linville.

Dave Cochran

Dave Cochran – Bass Guitar:
What Dave doesn’t know about music history, you could balance on the tip of your pinkie finger. He is a dedicated and talented musician … a sweet guy with a mild manner, a huge heart, and a passion for music, his family and life. Dave has also played for Crystal Ship, Gryphon, Ol Glory, Eagle Mtn Blues Band, Rand Hill Rousers, USAO Jazz Ensemble, Little Crappie & the Bluegills, Elmer’s Blues, 2X4 Blues Band, and Thursday Nite Music Club.

Rock on with your bad selves,
Shel

Behind the Lyrics: Gilded Frame

The woman and the scenario in this song are fictional, but based around the idea of secrets kept for generations … the ones we cherish and protect as we would a family heirloom. I know her secret, but I would never betray her trust by revealing it in the lyrics. 

What do you think the girl in the frame is hiding behind her smile? What secrets do the letters tell? What is inscribed inside the ring? What does the woman long to tell the world, but keeps locked safely inside a carefully guarded cage inside her heart?

~Shel


GILDED FRAME

(Lyrics by Shelly Phelps)

Down a dusty road there’s a house three stories tall
In the house, there stands a faded papered wall
On the wall there hangs a crooked gilded frame
In the frame there is a girl with a smile that hides a secret

Up the spiral staircase there’s an attic full of tears
In the attic there’s a steamer trunk, been sitting there for years
In the trunk there is a lock on a tarnished gilded box
In the box a stack of letters filled with words that tell a secret

     Inside a golden ring
     Inscribed with hopes and dreams
     When worn can not be seen
     She keeps the memory

Down the hall a woman gazes somewhere deep into her past
In the woman there’s a broken heart that years could not outlast
In her heart there is a stage with a guarded gilded cage
In the cage there is a bird with a song that sings a secret

     Inside a golden ring
     Inscribed with hopes and dreams
     When worn can not be seen
     She keeps the memory

© 2014 S. Phelps, R. Vollmar, C. Foreman, R. D. Cochran, Shelinator Music (BMI)

Behind the Songs: Merci, Monsieur

Mata Hari

Mata Hari

I wrote the song from the point-of-view of the Mata Hari as she faces the firing squad and reflects on her life and how history will portray her. The Mata Hari has been somewhat of an obsession of mine for some time. She was not conventionally beautiful, but became a highly successful exotic dancer and courtesan. But what is most fascinating to me is how she suddenly and completely re-invented her life . She simply chose to become someone else, from somewhere else .. in her case, a Java princess of priestly Hindu birth, schooled in the art of sacred Indian dance. She adopted the name Mata Hari … literally means “eye of dawn”. This new persona gave her permission to pose and dance nearly nude at a time when this was unbelievably scandalous. No one knew she was living a complete lie.

She was eventually accused of spying for Germany and causing the deaths of 50,000 soldiers. In 1917 she was tried and executed by a firing squad in France, with the court documents ordered sealed for 100 years. They were unsealed some 30 years early and offered no evidence of espionage. However, almost 100 years later, her name is still offered up as one of the world’s most famous spies. Everything from what she wore to her execution, to her last purported words (Merci, Monsieur) to her supposed attempt to distract her executioners by flinging off her coat and shouting “Harlot, yes, but traitor, never” have mostly been disproved … but reported throughout history as truth. I gave myself permission to tell her story by telling my own little lie in the song …. “I’ll leave it for the storytellers to decipher my endeavors”.

What do you know about the Mata Hari? Was she guilty? Did her own lies cause rumours, leading to her conviction? Did she deserve her punishment?

~Shel


MERCI, MONSIEUR

(Lyrics by Shelly Phelps)

In hat and gloves I stand before twelve barrels and a sword
When the blade falls in the morning light, I’ll exist no more
When history tells my story, will the layers be unpeeled
Maybe in one hundred years the truth will be unsealed

Merci, Monsieur
Merci, Monsieur
With my head held high and with open eyes
I shall know how to die
Merci, Monsieur

My life was my invention, a fictitious sacred poem
I turned from pain with a brand new name born in the eye of dawn
Bewitching and bejeweled I gave them my exotic dance
My power of seduction, the gift of my romance

Merci, Monsieur
Merci, Monsieur
With my head held high and with open eyes
I shall know how to die
Merci, Monsieur

For every single lie I’ve told there is a seed of truth
In these last moments of my life I’ll offer no excuse
I’ll leave it for the storytellers to decipher my endeavors
Courtesan, liaison … harlot yes, but traitor never!

Merci, Monsieur
Merci, Monsieur
I won’t resist, there’s no dying wish
I’ll just blow a kiss
Merci, Monsieur

Merci, Monsieur
Merci, Monsieur

© 2014 S. Phelps, R. Vollmar, C. Foreman, R. D. Cochran, Shelinator Music (BMI)

Behind the Lyrics: Beautiful and Burdened

Roy Lichtenstein

I have always been equally interested in beauty (light, truth, love, acts of courage, justice) and burden (darkness, pain, jealousy, lies, misdeeds, and injustice). The lyrics to Beautiful and Burdened uses the symbolism of an obsessive search for the beautiful, but oh-so-burdened woman to express my own obsessive search for love and light, darkness and pain, inspiration and the mysteries of life and art.

For those that create (and you know you do) what are the recurring themes that keep popping up? The inspiration that never fails you? When you seek out art, what movies, music, or books do you connect with?

~Shel


BEAUTIFUL AND BURDENED

(Lyrics by Shelly Phelps)

We look for her in the night
In her world of black and white
In shadow and in light
Behind a velvet curtain

A gift upon our empty pages
On canvases and stages
A muse for all the ages
She is Beautiful and Burdened

Her face launched a thousand ships
As many poems about her lips
And just one movement of her hips
Will send us searchin’

She gives to us her broken heart
We try to heal her with our art
But we just tear her apart
She is Beautiful and Burdened

If you listen as she confesses
If you watch as she undresses
If you can only touch her maybe she’ll reveal
The truth of every secret she possesses

Oh so lovely in her despair
Clay and color won’t repair
The pain that we’ve laid bare
She is Beautiful and Burdened
She is so Beautiful and Burdened
Oh she is Beautiful and Burdened

© 2014 S. Phelps, R. Vollmar, C. Foreman, R. D. Cochran, Shelinator Music (BMI)

~Shel