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 Photo: Robert Holt

                                                                     

robin eschner  
acoustic guitar, piano, vocals
acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, ukelele, vocals

                                                                                                           
TONE BENT    Robin Eschner and Bill Horvitz double up on guitars and vocals as they perform their original songs and give an occasional spin to a favorite cover. Both are accomplished musicians and composers, and together they deliver gorgeous harmonies and inspired guitar playing. Their first CD, “Say What You Will”,  has been described as:

 “a roaring ride through the heartland of human experience. Built on earthy guitar parts that sometimes simmer with heat, these tracks are a collection of what is, what might have been, and what could be. Composed through lyrical compositions with a circular logic and a talent for storytelling, these tracks speak to the journey inside us all. Serious talent combines with musical passion and a knack for craftspersonship in the new release by Tone Bent.” (J. Edward Sumerau, Metro Spirit, Augusta, GA)

Their songs consider the many layers of what it means to be human -- the things we all share in common, where we differ, how our lives intersect and influence whatever happens next.

TONE BENT released their second CD, Angels In the Kitchen, on April 10th, 2011. Bill and Robin are joined here and there on the new CD by Scott Walton on bass,  Rick Cutler on drums, John Tuttle - accordion, Jim Katzin - violin and John Bidwell on dobro. This new collection of songs includes "Bowen Street," a song of thanks written by Robin for the migrant laborers who gather every morning in Graton and help out local residents with the many tasks that need doing around Sonoma County. "You Never Know" is a song of thanks written for friends and fans who return to gigs, time and time again. "It’s Good to be Alive" is an upbeat take on leaving some troubles behind by heading out for drive. The title track was written for Apollonia and Athena Poilane, daughters of the famous Parisian baker Lionel Poilane, who guided the family bakery for many years until 2002 when he and his wife were killed in a tragic helicopter crash off the coast of Brittany. Apollonia now runs the Poilane bakery.

From the title track of Angels In the Kitchen:

Angels in the Kitchen©2008  Robin Eschner – for Apollonia and Athena PoilaneNo bread today in the boulangeriethe shop is closed, the oven’s cold, the shelves are emptyMonsieur Poilane has gone flying againMadam Iréna sitting right next to him.

Out along the northern shore all eyes are on the seawaiting for a signal, waiting for morningpraying for mercy.

No bread today in the boulangeriethe shop is closed, the oven’s cold, the shelves are emptybread crumbs on the floor, now what did you expectfrom a bird kept a cage the baker made from bread?

While high above the northern shore, Monsieur Poilane and Godare sharing their secrets, sharing their troublesthey’re having a long talk“The answer’s in the question” says Monsieur Poilane…in taking your time, in one-of-a-kind, it’s in the leavening”now God is smiling, nodding “Yes, yes, and don’t forgetangels in the kitchen, you gotta have angels in the kitchenangels in the kitchen - yes, yes, yes.”

Flowers in the window of the boulangeriethe lights are on, it's early dawn, the dough is risingApollonia’s in the kitchen, saying “this is the life I know”she wears her papa’s apron, her tears fall into the doughwhile out along the northern shore all eyes are on the seawaiting for a signal , waiting for morningwaiting for morning… and there are

Angels in the kitchen, ev'rybody needs angels in the kitchen

angels in the kitchen - yes, yes, yes, yes.

Photo: Art and Soul Photography

Robin

Infused with the familiar and the unexpected, Robin’s songs are visual, contemplative, meaningful, playful, gently heartbreaking and raucously funny –- her compelling melodic lines hugging the lyrics in ways that bring the images to life.

“Well, here’s the deal. I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley, Bakersfield. So, this means that, if you’re a teenager working your way up the radio dials on a quest for Iron Butterfly -- 4 times out of 5 you’re instead going to get Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and the like. Add to this that my dad had been in a barbershop quartet when he was in college and still sang and played some ukulele and was keen to teach me harmonies. So by the time I picked up a guitar I discovered that, lo-and-behold, these early entanglements with music were the ones stuck to my ribs. And now, having studied piano, guitar and composition through the years with truly amazing teachers such as Allaudin Mathieu, and with Dusan Bogdanovik and David Garner at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, I am able to navigate through new terrain with my music, even as early influences continue to live inside every song. For many years now I have also focused on writing choral music and in 2009, had the good fortune of winning the 2007 Julian White Memorial Choral Composition Competition, sponsored by the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra, for my composition “Hear the Bell.” I just completed a commission for this same group called "Because We Sang."  It will be performed in May of 2011 as a tribute to Arlene Sagan who will be retiring from her long-held position as Director of the BCCO. In 2003 I completed work on “A Song for Vanya,” a musical adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya co-written with singer/songwriter Bret Martin and director John Shillington. This musical has now been performed several times in theaters in California and audience response has been hugely favorable, thankfully, and very rewarding. With TONE BENT I bring these experiences into the mix as Bill and I happily spend hours upon hours working out harmonies and guitar licks together, aiming to get the sounds in our bones so we can then get out of the way of the songs when we perform them. Naturally we’re excited about what we’re coming up with, and eager to share these songs with others. The opportunity to work with a musician as devoted and gifted as Bill is a genuine dream-come-true for me, a homecoming.”

 Photo: Robert Holt

Bill   

Bill’s guitar playing has been compared to John McLaughlin, Sonny Sharrock, Jimmy Page, Roger McGuinn, Dave Van Ronk, John Fahey, and Robert Fripp. Critics have described his music as “meditative, sizzling, earthy, funky, joyous, brooding, gorgeous, serene, and kinetically charged.” Don’t let this confuse you.

“I grew up in a family where music was an important part of everyday life. My dad played piano and clarinet, and both my parents were avid listeners: jazz, classical, the Weavers, Harry Belafonte, musicals, and much more. They often went out to hear live music. We sang most nights around the piano and while traveling in the car. My brothers and I shared our love for music, and I was drawn to the radio at an early age, first around NYC listening to rock and roll and rhythm and blues, then later in the west to rockabilly and all the pop music of the day. I got into jazz and blues in a big way and of course the music of the 60s, which has been a big influence. All of these things have played a part in my guitar playing and composing. I began playing guitar when I was eight, though was off again, on again until sometime in my late teens. I was learning chords, finger picking, and singing folk songs in those early years. Before long, I had switched over to the world of instrumental music: jazz, blues, rock, adventurous electric guitar sonic excursions, a lot of composing and improvising for most everything from solo guitar to big bands. I’ve led the trio The Bill Horvitz Band for 14 years and written music for theater, dance, film, and spoken word. Most recently, I wrote music for a 20-piece group, The Bill Horvitz Expanded Band, which has been performed and recorded in California and NYC, a project that was a tribute to my late brother, Philip. I’ve had the honor of working and recording with many remarkable musicians and composers.In more recent years, my musical path has been looping back, a long circular arc to where I began—playing guitar and singing songs. And now...Tone Bent. Getting to sing harmonies and play songs, to work out parts, hone the craft and add, hopefully, the inspiring guitar note or three–as I feel Robin’s inspiration throughout–seeing our audiences being moved by the songs, this is what it’s all about.”