Seraphonium, meaning “songs of heaven” (Empyrean Records), is the innovative, musical brainchild of solitary songwriter Monte Schulz. His songs chase melody across genres, from rock to pop, classical to folk to world music. Each tune’s poetic, storied lyrics focus on Monte’s undeniable passion and talent for writing beautiful melodies and powerful, colorful words.
Performing under the name Seraphonium, and to manifest his lyrical and melodic intuitions, Monte marshaled musical collaborations with seventy-two of the most accomplished and respected session and live musicians from the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara areas. Recorded in Santa Barbara and Ojai studios, “After Many A Summer” is an ambitious, sophisticated, cool and complex body of work.
In the tradition of producer-impresario visionary projects, à la Alan Parsons Project and Steely Dan, Seraphonium couples insightful songwriting with undeniable musical performances captured in a state-of the-art recording.
Of this project, Monte says, “I started my creative life as a songwriter and musician. I later became a literary writer. But over the years, music stayed in me, and once my books were published, I returned to songwriting and began recording with the help of the amazing, creative, and technical people that brought life to this project I call Seraphonium.”
“After Many A Summer” is currently available on iTunes including the artistic booklet and lyrics.
Seraphonium’s debut benefit concert, featuring the best collective of Santa Barbara’s top musicians to ever perform on one stage, as well as key, noted Los Angeles musicians and performers, will showcase Monte’s songs at Santa Barbara’s modern, visionary Marjorie Luke Theater on Friday, November 20, 2015, located at 721 E. Cota Street. All ticket sales from this once-in-a-lifetime concert will be donated to AHA!: A non-profit committed to transforming the world by empowering teens to create peaceful and connected communities.
An avid supporter of his local artistic community, Monte also resurrected the Santa Barbara Writers Conference (SBWC) and its forty-six year-old community of writers. As the eldest son of Charles M. Schulz, who was an integral part of SBWC with founders Barnaby and Mary Conrad, Monte inherited his father’s appreciation for great literary works and the power of the written word. He now carries on the family legacy of writing and storytelling, from comic strip to literary fiction and songwriting.
Monte has taught literary writing style for fourteen years at SBWC and is a lecturer at the College of Creative Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB).
Musician/Producer Brian Mann (Kenny Loggins) says “Monte has a combination of great talent, intelligence, a heart of gold, true musical and lyrical gifts, wisdom and wise instincts … his Seraphonium is music at a higher level. I love working on these songs.”
John Lancaster, keyboard player for the Gary Allan Band, described “A Song Of You,” track #1 on the album, as “a sonic masterpiece.”
As wonderfully as the Seraphonium songs are played and recorded, what truly stands out is the quality and diversity of Monte’s songwriting. “Although I consider myself as much a composer as a writer,” confesses Monte, “I do try to tell stories in both my books and my songs that I hope entertain, and perhaps instruct, those who read and listen to them.”
Monte is also a prolific author who has published six novels, the latest being a one-thousand plus page epic literary novel,“Crossing Eden,” to be released in December by Fantagraphic Books.
Crossing Eden is the story of an American family in the summer of 1929, when a failed businessman divides himself from his wife and children, and a troubled farm boy runs away from home in the company of a gangster. It’s also the tale of a nation in the last months of the Roaring Twenties, a glittering decade of exuberance and doubt, optimism and fear.
* These Artists will be performing at the November 20th Seraphonium performance.
About The Artists
The extraordinary talent of Seraphonium musicians and producers who collaborated to showcase Monte‘s songwriting skills include keyboardist Brian Mann (Kenny Loggins); guitarists John McFee (Doobie Brothers), Jesse Siebenberg (Supertramp), Maitland Ward (Kenny Loggins, Madonna), Byl Carruthers (Café R&B), David West (Cache Valley Drifters & Chris Hillman Band), Ray Pannell (Mary Wilson); drummers Donzell Davis (Mary Wilson), Chris Rhyne (Santana) and Tom Lackner (Jeff Bridges & the Abiders); harpist Tom Ball (Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan); singer/guitarist Tina Schlieske (Tina and The B-Sides); bassist Randy Tico (Jeff Bridges and the Abiders); violist/violinist Benedikt Brydern (Yanni); keyboardist George Friedenthal; guitarists Paul Hefti, Craig Sharmat, Erik Stucky, Tim Kobza, David LaFlamme and Mark Hayes; drummers Adam Gust, Tom Fillman, Bob Nichols; drummer and vocalist, Lynn Coulter; bassists Domenic Genova, Nee Sackey, Kim Collins and Dave Chamberlain; Uilleann pipeist Patrick D‘Arcy; percussionists Lorenzo Martinez and Euro Zambrano; harpist Laurie Rasmussen; flutists Ritchie Gonzales and Colin Kupka; recorder player Lorin Grean; fiddlers Blaine Sprouse and Gabe Witcher; violinists Clayton Haslop and Maria Newman; violist Scott Hosfeld; cellists Angus Cooke and Paula Hochhalter — all from the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles music community.
The album features some of Santa Barbara‘s most popular singers including Shawn Thies, Lois Mahalia, Katie Fritzke, Sierra Reeves, Hana Loggins, Kimberly Ford, Allie Kaster, Laura Schlieske, Annie J. Dahlgren, Jan Ingram, Karen Lytle, Liz Samuels, Holly Duffy, Jane St. Clair, Erin Munsch, Meghan Monroe, Mari Koda Headley, Kelly Griffith Simmons, Michelle Garratt, Adam Phillips, Jason Fiedtkou, Jay Kahn, Michael Loring Andrews and Ejé Lynn-Jacobs, as well as singers from outside Santa Barbara – Jennifer Keil, Eugene Ruffolo, Joel Dalton and Carl Villaverde.
Monte’s musical momentum moves on as Seraphonium continues to record new songs for a follow-up CD due in early 2016.
Thank you to everyone who attended Seraphonium’s First Live Concert Friday, November 20. A once-in-a-lifetime musical collaboration of the “Best of the Best” Santa Barbara atists together for the FIRST time on ONE STAGE, played the visionary and melodic songs of producer-impresario songwriter Monte Schulz.
With over 700 people in attendance, we were thrilled the Santa Barbara community showed resounding support for Seraphonium and for AHA! by raising over $5000.00!
AHA! is a non-profit committed to transforming the world by empowering teens to create peaceful and connected communities. Visit ahasb.org for more information.