The Surreal Housewives of Woodstock

—Jules Shear, Ed Sanders

Introduction and History

Early in 2009 Jules Shear approached me in the Woodstock health food store, and asked if I’d like to write some tunes with him. I agreed, and this led to the writing of the 15-tune song cycle called The Surreal Housewives of Woodstock.

For the first two sessions I went over to Jules’s house up in the Byrdcliffe Colony here in Woodstock, and we wrote two songs, with Jules on guitar and both of us tossing lines back and forth. That was in early June. Then on June 16, we decided to write some humorous songs

I sent a fairly long list of humorous song concepts to Jules by email the next morning, including a list of ten titles of a sequence called The Real Housewives of Woodstock.

Jules liked the idea of Housewives of Woodstock, which we changed to Surreal Housewives of Woodstock, and we began the project. We set up a method where each of us worked on the tunes in our individual homes. During that summer, I was writing a book of memoirs, but early each morning, before commencing on the memoirs, I spent about an hour composing potential lyrics which, when I was done with a tune, I then emailed to Jules.

I submitted a slew of lyrics during the summer, more than could be used, so Jules selected the most promising and worked on them in his home studio, shaping and adjusting the lyrics and composing a melody, and then recording a CD of a tune, including harmonies, which he would leave off in the newspaper box at the edge of my driveway. The excitement built during the two and 1/4 months we worked on Surreal Housewives of Woodstock. I began eagerly to trot out to the box in the morning to retrieve the latest Surreal recording whenever Jules emailed that one was waiting.

The first tune was completed on June 23, the final and 15th tune was completed on August 31. And here they are, The Surreal Housewives of Woodstock.

Ed Sanders
Woodstock New York