Open Book
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Open Book

Cold Spring, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Cold Spring, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Duo Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Live Performance Review"

"Blown away by the HARMONIES! People, they're exquisite....live, their vocals are really front and center where they damn well should be. Michele's pristine tone, at times reminiscent of Shawn Colvin's, just soars and Rick's voice complements hers beautifully...shines on his own too."
Sam Tallerico, Cold Spring Radio
- Cold Spring Radio


""The Things We Keep" quote"

Following their auspicious debut album, "Out of Time," Rick Gedney and Michele Rubin have racheted things up several notches with their second album, "The Things We Keep." Right at home in the middle of a masterful mix of instruments, we hear the finest country/folk/rock harmonies since the Everly Brothers. Rubin's glass-like purity mixes perfectly with Gedney's soft delivery alongside a tasteful mix of swirling slide guitar, mandolin, and atmospheric piano and more. The songs range from doubt to devotion, but are handled with conviction throughout.
- Richard Cuccaro, Editor, Acoustic Live Magazine


"Rikks Revues review of "Out of Time""

The duo of Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney may have only been playing together in and around New York since 1999. That may be true but you would never suspect that after listening to Open Book's new release Out Of Time. The true compatibility between the two is astonishing, you would think the two had been playing together for years simply by the flow and the complimenting harmonizing. This is more of a folk CD, but Open Book do slide very easily through classification barriers making there own combination of folk, Americana, and some jazzy overtones to fill in the gaps.

Out of Time shows that you can make wonderful music no matter what your roots, since Michele and Rick started individually at open mike nights. Guitar virtuoso Billy Masters produced the album for Open Book, and it has a slick polish that transcends the (sometimes referred to as a stigma) of independent recordings. This is a pleasant journey, you can actually feel yourself getting lost in the music that has the ability to make you feel a part of the music rather than a simple bystander.

Sharing the role of lead vocalist, both Michele and Rick have the capability, but the magic of the harmonies is when the CD really shines. Michele has a voice that is gentle and pure, it is a soothing approach, Rick is no slouch either as he can remind you at times of a mix James Taylor or Jackson Browne. Before I got the CD in the post, I went to the Open Book Website and I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. After listening to the CD I got the entire picture.

There is a theme to the music here and if you want the full effect you really have to listen to the album from start to finish. Open Book's Michele Rubin shows the best vocal ability on "Let It Rain" which is a truly haunting and mesmerizing track, one of the best songs on the disc. Rick Gedney takes over the reigns on a few tracks, but none better than "Minstrel". I recommend this CD, a good clean sound that comes from the soul and hits you in the heart.

- Rikks Revues website - August 2004


"A Marvelous Triumph!"

Rick Gedney and Michele Rubin had been playing the open mike scene for years before joining forces to find that particular magic between them that later would be known to us as Open Book. Their music is as intriguing as is their name. Most everyone remarks on Michele's unique voice. I can't describe it as anything but angelic. Rick's accompaniment adds the right ingredient for a good read. Open Book invites you into a cerebral landscape of contemplation and resolve. The questions are often introspective and shadowy. The answers are as ambiguous as they so often are in real life...a journey of the heart. Their song writing styles work so well together that the songs seem seamless as they flow into each other. Billy Masters did an incredible job at production and deserves much applause. Open Book's debut CD, Out of Time, is a marvelous triumph! It has become one of my favorite easy listening CDs for both the home and car. I can't wait to hear what comes next.

- Rick Rock, President "Tribes Hill"


"Falcon Ridge Folk Festival - A Journey"

Performing on the midway requires a certain kind of approach. Like street singing or singing at rallies, playing on the Midway of a folk festival is totally social and interactive - you can't sing the kinds of quiet, introspective songs that have become the hallmark of folksingers in a thousand listening rooms and concert halls around the country. Here in the open air with people milling around and most of the audience standing, ready to depart at the slightest whim, you have to engage the audience at the level of the will, not just the heart or intellect.

There are a number of ways to do this, but all of them consist of grabbing the audience and not letting go. Ordinary beauty, for instance, doesn't work. I saw several acts along the row, mostly duos, who made pretty music with their harmonies and guitar picking, but made no impression. Trying too hard, accosting the audience, works little better, at least once the initial assault has worn off, as I have learned from experience. One group that managed to avoid both extremes was NY-based Open Book. Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney played a 15 minute set in front of the Acoustic Live! booth in the middle of the afternoon. As usual, every time I turned around there was someone else to say hi to, but their song "Downstream" caught my ear and held it: "we're so much like the water in so many ways / and we move like the river to the sea." You don't hear such careful attention to the sounds of words very often in folk music, and they were fine musicians to boot.

- Hugh Blumenfeld - online journal


""Out of Time" Acoustic Live Mag. Review"

Open Book is the duo of Michele Rubin and Rich Gedney. This debut CD is testimony for everyone, who knew, from the first time their sound made contact with our aural faculties -- These people really know how to make music.
What happens when you give a folk musician a Stradivarius? Michele's voice is like a bow being
drawn across finely tuned strings.
Track one, the title song "Out of Time," provides Open Book with the first descriptive example of their name. If it wasn't so cornball, they could even have called themselves "Open Heart." Michele sings:

"You throw your coat across the back of my chair…
You throw a glance around the room…
You sit beside me like you were already there…
And then you smile.

…And I've seen that look before you run away…
And I've seen how hard you've tried to ride it out.
And I don't know how far you've come only to run away…

…and you give up long before you get to start the test…
You're out of time."

The tracks that follow continue the pattern of getting to the heart of the feelings passing from
one caring person to another.
Rich Gedney's soft, confident vocals remind me of Peter Yarrow.
My favorite Rick Gedney track is "Minstrel." The softness of his vocals contrasts perfectly with the snarling lead guitar work of producer Billy Masters. The accordion of Rad Lorcovic provides just the right touch of reminiscence.

To a more upbeat tempo on "If You Knew Me," Michele works in counterpoint to the disappointment of having a lover not see her:

Now that I've stopped trying to explain
will you finally hear?
Now that I've stopped waiting for you
will you reappear?
And if you knew me at all
you would be here
And if you knew me at all
you would know love is not fear

Overall, the musicianship runs like liquid gold through this entire auspicious debut.
Hearing the voices of Rick and Michele weave through this set of elegant melodies is an enormous treat. Enough cannot be said about the production work of Billy Masters, already my favoritelead guitarist for singer/songwriters, I've seen him back Richard Shindell, Cry, Cry, Cry,
Suzanne Vega, Bob Hillman and a few others I can't think, of right now. He provides brilliant lead guitar work and just the right atmoshpheric effects for Rick and Michele. We can all be grateful and look for more from Billy in the future.

This is truly a CD worth owning.
- Rich Cuccaro, Editor, ALM


"Across the Pond Review"

Dear Michele and Rick - Thanks so much for sending me your album. I received it just after Christmas and for some reason have ended up listening at decidedly stange times of the day over the holidays (this morning at 6am - as the sun came up over the rooftops here in London).

Every track has something that moves me, but if I 'had' to choose one for my desert island it would probably be 'Say a Prayer' - but could just as easily be 'Downstream' (I hear shades of Sandy Denny) or Indiana (makes me want to go there) etc, etc....great production too - he deserves a Masters Degree!)

Really hope these little song pearls get found and brought to the surface for all to hear. I've added details to the January '03 edition of my Across the Pond Music Net Station [you will have to register first if you've never been to MP3.com before] and now I'm hoping you'll put some of these up on MP3.com so that I can stream them on future playlists.

Can't wait to hear what you're working on next.
- Paul Castle


"Chronogram Review of "The Things We Keep""

Hot on the heels of their emerging artist showcase gig at this year's Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, singer-guitarists Michelle Rubin and Rick Gedney—Open Book—return with their second solid, folk-filled CD.

Though I find myself preferring their intuitive and organic vocal blend to when either songwriter takes the lead, The Things We Keep, like its tuneful predecessor, 2002's Out of Time, is an engaging amalgam of harmony vocals, tasty folk rock, and, most importantly, intelligent and astute songwriting that fully realizes that whatever the two songwriters are living through, most of their audience has also experienced.

Unlike many contemporaries, the duo and its producer-guitarist, Billy Masters, know not to overproduce the music, and instead let the songs speak not only for themselves but to Open Book's deservedly growing audience. Evidence of this can be heard throughout the disc but radiates especially on the poppy lope of "Sing Me Love"; the evocative immediacy of my favorite track, "Springfield Avenue," which could be about any Main Street in the Hudson Valley; and the funky, unwinding "There for You." Other folk rockers include the closing "See You Next Time" and the chunky "New Direction Home." www.openbookmusic.com

- Mike Jurkovic
- Chronogram Magazine


"Local musical duo takes their music to the next level"

June 2006

Sing Me Love, one of the tracks on Open Book's recently released CD The Things We Keep, is what Rick Gedney and Michele Rubin of Yorktown are all about. The musical duo's honest lyrics, ear-pleasing harmonies, and skill with their instruments have maintained a loyal fan-base for years, but the release of their newest CD is propelling them to a new level of exposure -- and, one assumes after hearing their unique sound, popularity.

Gedney and Rubin, who write all their own music, draw on their own experiences to keep their lyrics sharp and melodies soothing. Their smooth, confidant sound is a cross-genre mesh of folk, soft rock, and country, offering a little something for everyone. "It's an exciting time to be a musician," says Gedney, who explains that digital technology has created lots of new opportunities for musicians. Recording a CD is now a possibility for even the most informal of bands, and Open Book has been able to create and produce their CDs close to (or sometimes at) home.

The pair promotes their music them selves, working without a manager, and they take advantage of the opportunities the Internet provides for exposure, maintaining several websites, including www.OpenBookMusic.com, www.sonicbids.com/openbook and a MySpace site, www.myspace.com/OpenBookMusic. But "this explosion of media," says Gedney, also makes their job more difficult. There's more music in the public sphere now, and "to be seen and heard amongst that is harder." But, he adds, the healthy competition often makes for higher quality music, and "raises the bar" in local music communities. Gedney and Rubin are now hard at work on a radio campaign, and The Things We Keep has already gotten national radio play.

Though Gedney and Rubin are relative newcomers to the "business" of music, they are no strangers to the art; both guitarists have been playing music all their lives. Rubin, who has played guitar since age seven, did spend some years away from it as an adult, but as her daughter grew older she began to feel a "pull to go out and do music again." That pull led her to the open mic circuit, and eventually to Gedney. The couple met in 1999, when both were actively playing at coffeehouses and other musical venues in the area. They began to back each other up musically, providing vocals or accompaniment, and eventually, when the Towne Crier Cafe in Pawling asked them to play a duo act, "Open Book" was born. They chose the name for the feeling they get when writing such revealing lyrics and music -- like an "open book" to the listener.

The collaboration was a success, and led to their first CD, Out of Time. Released in 2002, that first record "gelled our sound," says Rubin, and working with producer Billy Masters (who produced their second album as well) helped them "come together musically. The album "was well received," adds Gedney, who jokes that after that "we couldn't get out of it."

Open Book's audience grew by word of mouth and they began playing more gigs in a wider area. And, somewhere along the way, their musical partnership turned into a personal one. Says Rubin, "I think the second record is our story of how we came together." From upbeat tracks like A Way Out to mellower songs like Go and Waiting, The Things We Keep covers a lot of emotional ground. The record is the product of a couple who's found a balance: though their sound is a seamless collaboration, they still write and compose songs individually. When one of them creates a new song, they work together to add pieces, like guitar parts or harmonies, that transform it into something that belongs to them both.

That shared, multi-layered sound has drawn a devoted audience. People connect to the music of Open Rook, says Rubin, because the songs are so real. "They don't cut corners," she says, "(the songs) are really what we've been through." But the songs aren't just honest they're inspiring too. Rubin tells the story of a couple who came to a show and told her, "We fell in love to your music." The couple had seen Open Book a year before and bought a CD, and the music on that record became the soundtrack of their relationship. "It's an amazing thing," says Gedney, "making that live connection with your audience." Now, the couple has asked Open Book to play at their wedding – something, says Rubin, that's "cooler than selling a hundred CDs"

With the release of the new CD, Gedney and Rubin are finding that their music is moving to a different level of exposure. It's an "exciting prospect," says Gedney, "but also a little scary." Though they haven't quit their day jobs quite yet, the "mini business," as they call it, takes up an ever increasing chunk of their time, energy, and passion. They spend about three weekends a month performing mostly in local "listening venues" like The Towne Crier and Peekskill Coffee House, and occasionally driving farther off for gigs in Connecticut and New Jersey. It's a challenge for them to juggle their music with jobs, family, and friends, but they're glad to be busy doing what they love.

Eventually, the two hope to be able to spend all of their time on their music. For now, though, they just keep making the time to follow their passion. Says Rubin, they've learned how to strike the right balance "do what you love, and all the other things in your life kind of fall into place."

- Laura Chartier of The North County News


"Open Book: No Time To Cry"

Four years ago the folk-rock duo known as Open Book released their debut album, Out of Time, and I remember thinking back then that this was one of the coffeehouse acts here in Westchester ready to break out. Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney are both excellent songwriters with strong, distinctive voices-hers is an alto of discovery, his announces a gentle understanding-and their ego-less approach to supporting each other musically was impressive in its sincerity.

They also spent a lot of time helping other musical artists around here, with Rubin becoming everybody's favorite harmony vocalist a la Lucy Kaplansky, and Gedney adding his guitar strum and warm background singing to the work of Susan Kane, Dan Bonis and Dave Murphy. But time moves quickly in the music business, weeks and months can slip by between gigs, and momentum is lost. Getting the music and financial resources together to make another recording consumes time, energy, patience, friendships, sanity, existential marrow-you name it.

On top of all this Rubin and Gedney were getting divorced from their respective spouses-and falling in love with each other as their professional music lives became more entwined. Anyone who'd listened closely to his or her songs had probably already figured this out, said Gedney. "We are, after all, an open book to a large extent," he said.

"It's actually rather easy keeping our personal lives and art moving forward now," said Rubin, "especially after spending so much of our lives putting our passions on the back burner."

Appropriately enough, the duo's new album, The Things We Keep, which is being released this week after two years of recording sessions and is titled as such from a line in Gedney's song "New Direction Home" is about "life events-adulthood, careers and families vying for the same mental space as the artistic dreams we've had since childhood," said Rubin. "But learning how to hold on to what's important creates a real life of value, one that is full of meaning and short on regrets."

Produced by top-notch guitarist Billy Masters, as was the preceding disc, The Things We Keep opens with ambling electric guitars and fitful percussion introducing "A Way Out," a hard-bouncing number sung by Rubin that is swelled with Hammond B-3 organ and sounds like it would have fit into the Grateful Dead's repertoire circa Shakedown Street. Gedney follows with a glorious ballad, "Open Your Eyes," and then the two singers arc heavenward together on "Go," a midtempo anthem that signals a new peak in their collaborative achievements: instead of merely supporting each other as background singers, here they create a forceful identity that's a sum of everything lived and loved for.

The big advantage of having two co-leaders in harmony and agreement rests on the spectrum of influence and experience each brings to the table. Open Book is a folk-rock duo, yes, but depending on whose songs are being performed the group's sound will veer toward delicate acoustic arrangements here and toward amped-up declarations there, the songcraft and soul-filling vocals of sterling quality regardless.

"What we have together is so unique," said Rubin, "but the best part if that Rick and I feel as if we're just starting out."

Born in Yonkers, Rubin started singing when she was two and writing songs while in grade school, she said. "My father got me interested in guitar and clarinet early on, too, and he had a reel-to-reel tape machine to record with," she noted. By adolescence she was also an inveterate poet-"some of those lyrics and idea still read OK," Rubin boasted, and while attending Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua after her parents divorced Rubin remarked that she was the "chick with the guitar" playing on the lawns around school.

Rubin then went off to study journalism at the University of Hartford, had several low-rung publishing jobs after graduation, and then landed at Rolling Stone in the advertising department. Did she ever take Jann Wenner aside and sing one of her songs to him? "It seemed everybody at the magazine played in a band or was writing songs," she cracked, "and it was best not publicize your musical ambitions as a result."

She got married, birthed a daughter and kept writing songs, her musical dreams kept at home for the time being.

Finally, in 1998 Rubin started playing at some of the open mic nights in the area. "I was dying to do something musical, and, in fact, even auditioned to sing in a wedding band at one point," said Rubin. As coincidence or fate would thus dictate, Gedney was dipping his toes into the music scene around Westchester at the same time.

"I'm a product of 1950s rock and roll," said Gedney. "The folk boom was starting up as I was getting into music, but all I wanted was to be Chuck Berry." Originally from Port Chester, Gedney said he begged his parents for an electric guitar, but money was tight, and so he got a paper route to raise the funds for a Sears Silvertone and some lessons. Eventually, he played in a band called the Lonely Souls that was part of the county's mid-1960s rock scene, receiving enough notice that RCA Records was on the verge of signing them before the draft and Vietnam War took away one of the members.

Gedney forfeited music to study art at Franklin College in Indiana, worked as a painter for a while, got married, and taught in a music store before moving back east in the early 1970s.Teaching jobs were scarce for musicians, so he got a job as a teller and slowly moved his way up in the banking industry. He raised two kids and occasionally taught guitar in adult ed classes before wanting to get back out playing music 'live.'

Which brought the Open Book duo to the Common Sense Café, the gone-but-not-forgotten Port Chester folk music hang, in 1999. Rubin heard Gedney play mandolin there and asked if he was interested in work as a side musician for some of her upcoming gigs; he returned the favor and inquired whether she'd sing backing vocals for him. Their tandem support for each other continued until 2001when Phil Ciganier, owner of the Towne Crier Café in Pawling was faced with a Solomonic decision: he needed an opening act and both Gedney and Rubin fit the bill. "So he asked us to perform as a duo," said Rubin, "which we both thought was a great idea, but we had to come up with a name for 'our group' as soon as possible."

Since then Open Book has gained a large audience between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, opening for bigger acts and traveling the coffeehouse circuit. Listening to The Things We Keep it's obvious that Rubin and Gedney are nearing something bigger for their music: several of the songs, like those already mentioned plus "No Time to Cry" and "Sing Me Love," have a summertime radio vibe. Magical interactions often put a sparkle into sound in a way that's hard to understand, but simply offer a dynamic that's usually lacking in the "monolithic singer-songwriter approach. Open Book's common ground, their acknowledged sharing and journey, is where their charm comes from, and so it'll be interesting to see how far this second album takes them.

"I think we're tapping into a need out there for music that people who are 35 to 65 can relate to," said Gedney. "But where is all this taking us? We don't know. It's easy to answer, though, why we're out there playing music: because it's what we love."

- Thomas Staudter/The Gazette/April 2006


Discography

"Out of Time" 2002
"The Things We Keep" 2006

Photos

Bio

Hear more audio clips and view videos at our Reverbnation site: www.reverbnation.com/openbook

Open Book has shared the stage with many amazing artists including: Freedy Johnston, Ellis Paul, Lucy Kaplansky, Buddy and Julie Miller, Christine Lavin, Modern Man, Ian Matthews, and many others.

Open Book is currently in the studio working on their third album!

"The Things We Keep" can be heard on over 100 radio stations nationwide.

"Out of Time" won second place in the JPFolks Best New Folk Album category.

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QUOTES:

"The Things We Keep, like its tuneful predecessor, 2002's Out of Time, is an engaging amalgam of harmony vocals, tasty folk rock, and, most importantly, intelligent and astute songwriting that fully realizes that whatever the two songwriters are living through, most of their audience has also experienced. Unlike many contemporaries, the duo and its producer-guitarist, Billy Masters, know not to overproduce the music, and instead let the songs speak not only for themselves but to Open Book's deservedly growing audience." MIKE JURKOVIC, CHRONOGRAM MAGAZINE

"Open Book is the working identity of singer/songwriters Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney. An amalgam of folk inflected styles with tunes that concern themselves with love and loss, their music crosses into the urban landscape as easily as it inhabits and embraces it’s rural roots. The duo’s harmonies are sublime and tastefully evocative; their music is amply fulfilling and the structures incorporate sounds that travel far outside the standard instrumentation of the base genre to incorporate sounds from the city and world. A top flight release.
JOHN HAMMEL, HOMEGROWN RADIO NJ

"Open Book's songs build on Rick and Michelle's beautiful and entwining harmonies, achieving an incantatory power." JIM MOTAVALLI, DJ, WPKN Radio

"...buy this CD, i promise it will be one of the things you keep!
ZOE MONTANA, MUSIC DIRECTOR, RADIOIO.COM INTERNET RADIO

"Wow...what a great CD. All the sounds I love to hear in a contemporary folk-rock song are right there in the first minute of the album...and then those voices. Not to mention great musicians. I am definitely loving this CD."
DAN HERMAN, RADIO CRYSTAL BLUE, INTERNET RADIO

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BIOGRAPHY:

Possessing an exquisite musicality rooted in modern-day folk, tuneful rock and countrified jangle pop plus a lyrical perspective brimming with real life and mature emotion, the two singer-songwriters known as Open Book have refined their distinctive sound with their sophomore CD release, The Things We Keep. Both Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney exhibit a gift for songwriting that entwines melody invention with astute observations of the heart backed by a tapestry of guitars.

The Things We Keep presents eleven original compositions filled with sharp hooks and sticky truths while adorning the whole with the kind of shimmering male-female harmonies rarely heard in today’s music.

The number of talented singer-songwriters working in the coffeehouse and nightclub scene of New York City’s northern suburbs in early 2001 was by no means a small figure. At that time, Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney were asked to perform together as an opening act for Buddy and Julie Miller at the ever-popular Towne Crier Café in upstate Pawling, New York. Rubin and Gedney had been backing each other up occasionally for several years already, but the thought of joining forces hadn’t quite occurred to them. “Arranging the songs from our repertoires and getting a set prepared was easy compared to coming up with a name for our act,” Rubin recalled with a chuckle. The moniker they chose, of course, is entirely fitting, considering their literate tilt toward semi-transparent revelations concerning love and life.

In 2002 Open Book released their debut album, Out of Time, and immediately enjoyed growing acclaim as music fans and critics recognized the duo’s talents. Noted one writer: “Michele Rubin and Rick Gedney are both excellent songwriters with strong, distinctive voices—hers is an alto of discovery, his announces a gentle understanding—and their ego-less approach to supporting each other musically is impressive in its sincerity.” In time Open Book’s audience has increased considerably and the group now regularly travels up and down the East Coast performing at much-loved “listening rooms”, such as The Towne Crier, The Living Room, and The Iron Horse Music Hall. They have shared the stage with the likes of Ellis Paul, Ian Matthews, Lucy Kaplansky, and Christine Lavin, among others.

Rubin and Gedney grew up not far from each other in the Westchester suburbs of New York City. Rubin was “the chick with the guitar” at her high school, she said, and afte