Californian Feeling Album

This page is dedicated to the wonderful new album by Stevie and his friends, its a testiment to his songwriting skills just how diverse this collection is!

I asked some of the contributors to tell us their friendship with Stevie, here are a few of their comments.

David Courtney

david courtney bible 1International composer and record producer David Courtney has worked with some of the music industries legendary names such as:

Roger Daltrey – Eric ClaptonDavid Gilmour – Sir Paul McCartney – Ritchie Blackmore – Steve Cropper and Al Kooper to name but a few. He was also the man behind the success of Leo Sayer and co-wrote many of his international hits including ‘ The show must go on’ ‘One man band’ ‘ Long tall glasses’ as well as ‘Giving it all away’ for Roger Daltrey. David Courtney has numerous entrees in various “Rock Music Encyclopaedias”.  Platinum, Gold and Silver Disc Awards representing the millions of records sold worldwide. ASCAP (The American Society of Composers and a Grammy Nomination. David first worked with Stephen Kalinich in 1982 when they collaborated on a song entitled ‘Magic Touch’ which was recorded by New York dance group Odyssey and went on to become an international top selling hit. David & Stephen  have continued their writing partnership with the development of a unique motivational music project entitled ‘UR UR’ which they hope to release later in this year

Jon Tiven

Jon Tiven

When I got back to the U.S.A., I stumbled upon a film on TV called Ishtar that was legendary for being one of the worst movies of all time.  But when I watched it it evoked such parallels to our trip I forgave the bad moviemaking and just enjoyed Dustin’s portrayal of Stevie, and Warren Beatty’s take on me (or was it Phil?).  I don’t know, but nobody’s fighting over the Oscars for that one.I met Stevie thru our mutual friend/cowriter Phil Sloan.  He used to be P.F. but now he’s just Phil.  The three of us journeyed to India to see Sathya Sai Baba, who Phil and I consider our spiritual leader and who Stevie had intellectual and spiritual curiousity about.  Aside from a few health issues set in motion from drinking some street root beer—not recommended for non-Indians—it was a phenomenal trip, one burst of energy after another.  Stevie and I became better friends on this adventure, and one day he wandered into my hotel room with an idea for a song, and I felt the inspiration to grab my guitar and put some music to his words.  It was an electric experience.

Paul Steel

paulx08x08x07xmcI first met Stevie after a show I played supporting Sean Lennon in London in 2006. We hit it off right away and spoke for a good 20 minutes about music and art. I knew of his collaborations with Dennis Wilson and The Beach Boys but I had no idea he’d contributed to so many other great records over the years. I went to pack my gear away and returned after 10 minutes, only to find that Stevie had befriended half of the audience from that show in the short time i had gone! We ended up giving him a lift back to Brighton and he recited several of his classic poems for us as if he was performing to thousands of people in an theatre. It was quite the treat, though Stevie’s visceral, expressive performance did occasionally comprimise my manager’s driving ability and i started to wish we had caught a train instead!
He suggested that whilst he was staying in Brighton it might be worth trying to write a song together so he came over and in about an hour or so we wrote ‘Ocean’, lyrically based on his poem of the same name. It came so quick and naturally. I sat at the piano developing a chord sequence that reflected how I felt about his poem and he would direct me in terms of mood and start dropping lines from his poem onto the melodies I was humming. It was effortless! I thought it might be cool for us to have a section in the song where Stevie could perform his poem. We did just that, plus Stevie added a few minutes of inspired improv that really set the scene for the beginning of the track. Since that day Stevie has become a great friend and an unlimited supply of inspiration. I’m working on a project called Cold Crow’s Dead with Murray MacLeod from the Xcerts and whenever we find ourselves out of ideas we get straight on Skype and wake Stevie up. He is always willing to help!
One thing I admire about Stevie is that he does what he does for all the right reasons. He’s not in it for fame or money. Everything he writes is 100% from the heart with no pretention or censorship whatsoever. He just lets his work be whatever it may be, and hopefully he’ll get the recognition he deserves.

Stacy Keach


I am writing to you in support of my dear friend and colleague, Steven Kalinich.  I had the pleasure of meeting him some years ago through my publicist, and our mutual friend, Dick Guttman.  I had written some musical compositions in need of lyrics, and Dick suggest that I let Stevie listen to my music, which he did.  We met, worked on some material together, and I began to read more and more of Stevie’s wonderful poetry.  His sensitive expression of the human condition inspires the heart and soul, and our lives are enriched by his presence.  I loved reading his work for this album, and I look forward to many future collaborations with great joy.Stacy Keach

Jez Graham

jez_grahamI met Stevie in 2000 when I was in the audience at the Pet Sounds live concert at the Hollywood Bowl and I ran into The Honey’s who introduced us, Although Stevie says he thinks we met earlier back when I was playing in The Honey’s back up band in the early 80’s. Several years later in 2004 I had recorded a solo piano tribute to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys and I chose to begin the cd with a meditative take on one of my all time favorite Beach Boys songs. “Be Still”. Our mutual friend Jerry Boyd had also used my version of “Be Still” on his Two Steps Forward tribute to Brian and Dennis Wilson cd. Jerry gave Stevie a copy of that disc and Stevie let me know that he appreciated my instrumental version of the song he and Dennis wrote in 1968. At the time I was playing at a Unity Church and when I found out that Be Still had been inspired by a postcard Stevie received from a Unity minister, we began having deep discussions about life, love and truth which led to us collaborating on a series of songs that became the “You Can Soar” cd. To celebrate the release of the cd we gave a concert at Unity North church in Atlanta that featured some of my local musician friends as well as my 2 musical kids who had played on the cd. It was a real gas and in addition to the songs from our cd we also improvised behind Stevies recitations. One of the highlights of the concert was Stevies reading of his original “Be Still” poem, followed by a sing along version. Another highlight for me was that I got to sing one of my favorite songs from the classic Dennis Wilson “Pacific Ocean Blue” album “Rainbows” For that version I tried to stay true to the original vibe which I always heard as funky gospel soul. On the end of it I let myself go with some jazzy gospel influenced piano improv. Stevie and I have continued our collaborations which most recently has resulted in a gospel /soul song Surrender which is available on itunes by sung blues/jazz diva Francine Reed and featuring David Marks on Guitar. I also sand “Surrender” with David Marks and The Summertime Blues Band at our successful appearances in Atlanta and at the E.S.Q. Pet Sounds Safari. In 2010 I improvised behind Stevie’s Christmas Wish poem along with Probyn Gregory on French Horn for the Side B music “Rockin The Mistletoe” cd.

It was an honor to add my solo piano interlude of “Rainbows” to the “California Feeling” cd. I tried to retain the original spirit of the song and even though it is an instrumental version I was singing along inside while I recorded it. Stevie’s words have taught me many lessons and continue to do so.  It has been one of my most meaningful collaborations, I love the whole cd, and I am grateful to Alan Boyd for helping me get the right key and feel for the interlude so it could flow so seamlessly into the beautiful version of “Little Bird” by Carnie and Wendy Wilson. All of the artists contributions are so special and  Mark Linett and Alan Boyd did such a wonderful job producing this inspirational compilation.

Sarah Al-Mulla

downloadStephen Kalinich has a gift so unique and rare that it is difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of meeting him. To say that he has the kindest of hearts and the most open of souls is an understatement.

I first met Stephen a couple years ago. He was given the daunting task of helping me, a young songwriter, focus my thoughts and learn how to eloquently combine melody with words. I quickly realized, somewhere between his offerings of fresh fruit and granola bars, that he would have a much greater affect on me than I had originally thought.

He was warm and welcoming; much like a friend of many years might have been upon my arrival. I was treated to a tour of his home, which was brimming with oversized painted canvases and books of poetry and photography.

After we got situated, I took my place at the piano and began to play. Stephen didn’t have any preference as to what I played; I was simply instructed to play whatever came to mind, essentially, to do what I enjoyed.

He paced while I nervously attempted to accurately hit all keys intended. Inexplicably, Stephen broke his stride, dug through a pile of his poetry and pulled out exactly what he was looking for, as though it had called to him. He sang a skeleton of a possible vocal melody, chiming in that he wasn’t a singer, but “you get what I’m singing right?”

I played and sang the song a few times, in shock that in such a short amount of time, we, together, had created something so beautiful, a song.

Every now and again we would take a break from the redundancy of playing the same song on loop. Stephen would read me some of his favorite passages from books he had read. We discussed the meaning of life, the human struggle and how we as individuals fit in all of the wonderful madness.

At the end of the day I would sit in traffic on my drive home thinking about everything that had just transpired and the weight of all the thoughts we had investigated, only to arrive home, more inspired than I had been in a very long time.

While I worked on my material in solitude I knew Stephen was never too far from me. He periodically emailed me to check on my progress, offered words of wisdom and sent me his most recent pieces of writing to ponder over. When he sensed I was beginning to doubt myself, Stephen would call and reassure me of my talent, my importance and value as an artist, as a person and as his friend.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when Stephen asked if I was willing to contribute a piece of music to his project, because this is what it means to work with Stephen Kalinich. It is never simply work, it is an investigation into my sense of self, allowing a certain amount of vulnerability to take hold of me, all the while, knowing I am safe because he is there, holding my hand from a distance.

My love and appreciation for Stephen and his ability to express himself and love so deeply and purely is more than I could ever begin to quantify. I feel honored to be in such great company with my musical contribution to “The Magic Hand,” to the CD “California Feeling,” and in life as a whole.

Ralph Stevens

ralph_and_stevie__2_I originally met Stevie in 1971. I had just returned from my tour in Vietnam. Tour, that’s funny, sounds like I was on a sight seeing bus. I actually was incredibly lucky being assigned as the musical director for the Amy special services while in country. Yeah, I produced bands in the war. But that is another story. Stevie and I have been writing together since that time. Always Leaving is the first song that I wrote with Stevie arranging the music under his spoken vocal. Originally I had conceived of it as sung and I was in the process of taking his longer form poem and adapting it into a song form . It was during that time that I met Hami, (Marquis Dair). I think it was 2005 and and I asked if he would like to work with me on a project with a poet friend of mine. I showed him what I had and he picked up a guitar and over the course the next few weeks we began to work on the music. He is a great singer and musician and his vocals and talents are featured on the recording. In the end we mixed it and ultimately Hami moved back to Philly.  In 2010 I rediscovered the tracks just as Stevie was putting this amazing album together. It was fun to listen the tracks after five years and then have a chance to put a new take on the song as I edited and remixed. I am so pleased with the performances and thrilled to have the song on this album. A little side note, the original title was the first line of the poem “Every Servant is a Master”.  As the song evolved “Always Leaving” grew into the chorus and central theme of the piece.  I think of it as a portrait of our busy lives, “Always Leaving, on his way to something”. I recognize hope in the idea. Hope in the possibilities of each new day. That restless fire that gets you up and unexpectedly gives birth to something new. And that is what happened here.

Wendy Wilson

wendy wilson

Stephen Kalinich has hit on something that is fresh and innovative . Poetry interlaced with song . The record is extremely diverse , yet it has a wonderful continuity to it . Stevie is able to combine his beautiful poetry and talents with any type of genre and it works flawlessly . This is a real breath of fresh air , and I am proud to be a part of such an important project . Wendy Wilson








Charlotte Glasson

charlotte glassonI’ve got two tracks that I worked on with Stevie for this new album- Between Brentford and Brighton, and Journal 6/27 Jazz
Both were recorded in my home studio, with Stevie just reciting into a mic. The music came much later.
The inspiration came to do these tracks, from us having lunch one day on Brighton Beach. As we waitd for our food to arrive, Stevie started to read me some of his journal, and I was totally knocked out. The writing was so fluid, a stream of consciousness, honest, direct and very thought provoking. A real insight to this man who I had met only a few days previously.
I was touched and moved by what he had written, and also inspired and thought maybe I could do something, again fairly improvised behind him, to evoke and recapture some of the memories he talks about.

It was  a really prolific time, Stevie came round and we recorded a whole bunch of poems and journal entries- some being modified on the spot. Then he went back to America and lefty me to get on with the music. Life, as it tends too, got in the way and it took me quite a while to find the time to able to concerntrate on the words, but in 2009 I put some music together with a new project of mine, Triotones, in which Stevie recites his poem Gravity on our cd ‘Velocity.’  This went down well, so Stevie asked me to get some stuff together for his new CD, a big collaboration with all his friends contributing. What an honour!
I submitted 2 tracks to the Grammy award winner, Mark Linett, and he liked both of them, so both are on the CD! I also played Baritone sax on the track by my friends, Glen Richardson and Steve Wrigley too.
I was lucky enough to be performing in LA with ‘Pandemonium’ at the end of 2010, and I hooked up with Stevie and we had a great time. He took me to my first ever basket ball match at UCLA, we went to Malibu and listened to the sound of the waves on the beach, Venice Beach, and he took us to a real funky Mexican place that he used to hang out in with Dennis Wilson ( see photo)  He was a total star! I love him dearly, and it was such a pleasure working with him! I’m sure we’ll do it some more, so watch this space!

Stephen Wrigley

stephen and stevieJust wanted to say that it’s been a great pleasure writing with both Stevie and Glen for this album, and hanging out in Brighton and LA together too. Glen and I felt a particularly strong sense of responsibility about getting the music right on 111 Crestmont Road, being as it’s about Stevie’s earliest memories, and we hope we’ve done it justice. That’s not to say there’s any less responsibility in reworking a great Kalinich/Wilson tune, either! The album’s sounding great, all the contributors have done a grand job, and we’re very happy to have been a part of it.
let me know if you’d like more
Stephen Wrigley

The Chaos Band

adam06Be Still was the first released Dennis song on a Beach Boys album.  At Alan Boyd’s suggestion all six of us that did the Carl and Dennis album got together one night in my garage to record it.  I did the organ track on an old Farfisa organ that a friend of mine used to own who had passed away.  Before the band got there I recorded the whole vocal as a guide, then everyone picked out the lines that they sounded best on and replaced my vocal with theirs.  It all happened very quickly and it was fun.

Then we gave the tracks to Mark Linett to do his mixing magic on it, and the rest is history.

We wish Stevie K. all the best with this new release.

Dan Knutson

Stevie is once in a lifetime. The Hat. Poetic wisdom via e-mail.It’s an honor to be included in his life and this project along with Wendy, Carnie and Rob and all of the other contributing artists….and my kids love him, too.

David Marks

david_marks_2008I am proud to call Stevie my friend. He’s such a unique and inspiring character and whenever we are together we laugh and have a great time. My favorite times are when we don’t have any particular destination in mind. In traffic, hanging out at the beach, circling for parking, it doesn’t really matter because the journey is the best part.

The collection of songs on this CD remind me of spending the day with Stevie…you don’t know what’s coming next but you’re guaranteed it will get you thinking about something in a new way or remind you to stop and appreciate the small yet beautiful things we tend to tune out because we’re being cynical. California Feeling, like Stevie himself, is a soul-cleansing experience. – David Marks

Probyn Gregory

probyn-gregory2I was approached by Alan Boyd and Mark Linett to do a track for the Stevie Kalinich “tribute” album. Stevie had become a friend of mine and wife Julia’s over the past few years. We had even recorded him at our home studio for a few projects, some of which never saw the light of day. It was suggested that “A Time to Live in Dreams’ might be a good match. I had heard the Dennis version from ’68 and liked it, though it seemed to me, as was usual with Dennis’s productions, spare (in a good way). I began arrangement ideas and Julia, who was engineering, threw in her two cents to good effect. We definitely wanted to retain the sort of intimate vibe the original had, but use different instruments. Dennis used piano and organ mainly. I began with a high-string guitar as the base, and the second thing to enter is organ bass (my only nod to orig instrumentation) and a choir of horns. In the middle, ebow guitars come in, along with a harmonica, and Julia’s octave vocal. Finally in the last verse, we gave in to temptation and filled the aural space top to bottom with a bunch of voices, trombones, trumpets, french horns, pedal steel. This was one of our against-the-grain arrangement ideas: the chords “rise” if you will– we took pains to have all instruments/vocals go DOWN here (you can hear it plainly in the intro). But in keeping with the tone of the final lyric (“love is”) we then dropped off the cliff so to speak and went back in the final ending section to a sparer palette reminiscent of Dennis’s original. Upon reflection, something seemed missing, so we took the idea of the somewhat vocal-sounding ebow guitars and vocals from the massive last verse and threw them alone up front as a fade-in, which worked to our ears.In conclusion, Stevie’s great lyrics reflect the tender attention to emotional detail that is his hallmark. He really cares about the humancondition and the search for balance, which make a valuable person tokeep in touch with in this day of gadget-addled multi-tasking.

Ginger Blake

Ginger_and_DianeTo  know Stevie is to Love Him.  We have known Stevie a good portion of our lives.  We’ve talked about doing a project together for so many years that when Marilyn’s husband, Daniel, told us about this project and when Stevie asked us to sing California Feeling, we were honored and very excited to do this for him.  It was one of the greatest and most rewarding joys to bring this song to life again. We loved every minute of giving this song a “Honeys’ signature because we felt so inspired  watching Stevie fill up with emotion in the sound booth. We knew that he understood how much we loved doing this song for him as much as he loved writing it with Brian. Ginger BlakeThe Honeys

Daniel Rutherford

Daniel RutherfordBeing around for the different facets of this project, and Stevie in general, has been amazing.  This California Feeling Cd, shows more than just the art itself, it’s diversity, it’s depth, ‘be still’, but also it’s multi genre acceptability, which IS Stevie..  It was thrilling, being the go between, getting Stevie’s Poetry Cd released, a while back, but nothing comparable to this!!!!  Being there for part of the creative process of the California Feeling’ Cd, was seriously fabulous.  To see the incredible talent, abilities, and true professionalism, of The Honeys( I’m definitely prejudice), Mark Linett, and Alan Boyd, at the recording session, for the song, California Feeling, under Stevie’s watchful eye, was fantastic.  I wasn’t there for the other equally great sessions, just listening, though, lets us know, how uniquely talented, all these artists are.  With all this talent, how about a volume 2!!!  The one common denominator is STEPHEN JOHN KALINICH.

Diane Rovell

The_Honeys_LiveI enjoyed the process of being in the studio, and being creative.  It’s amazing, everything expressed by Stephen, comes from a place of sensibility and love.  I always loved the fact that Stephen chose to write about the ‘feeling’ and ‘life’ here in California. The Honeys sound, and the way we work together is always both fun and challenging.  It’s our own sound and there will always be the three of us.  We hope we captured the ‘California Feeling’, with the ‘California Sound’  We feel honored to be a part of this Cd, about, and for Stephen ..

Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford

Brian-Marilyn-Wilson-brian-douglas-wilson-33246548-487-500Stephen John Kalinich has been my friend for around 40 years…He has always been one of my favorite people on this earth, for he is honest, caring, loving and sincere. He truly is a beautiful spirit in every way. I love him dearly.It was a pleasure to record “California Feeling” for his CD. The recording process was fun and self fulfilling. It was an honor to sing such a fabulous song. It was truly one of Brian and Stephen’s best works together, in my opinion.When I was given a copy of the finished CD, I was very taken with all of the great songs on the album. When I heard my own son-in-law Dan Knutson’s song, I didn’t even know it was him. I first listened to it and said to myself, “Who is that” and was pleasantly surprised that it was Danny….I loved it immediately and was very proud of him and his talent. Of course it goes without saying that I adored the wonderful “Little Bird” by my daughters and  the production by my other super talented son-in-law Rob Bonfiglio.  Yes, I am prejudice , but with good reason! We always knew we had a talented musical family and it goes on and on. I am proud of that.I love Stephen’s reciting poetry and the music.. that is the heart of the CD to me.  I have to say that all of the songs impressed me. It is a wonderful CD and I hope it does well for Stephen…Stevie as we call him. A wonderful soul .Marilyn Wilson-Rutherford 4/21/2011

Alan Boyd

Alan Boyd and Stephen KalinichI have to agree with Ginger Blake on this one – to know Stevie is to love him, indeed!  I met Stevie back in 1996 when we were both part of a large gathering of musicians and singers who came together to perform the “Pet Sounds” and Friends” albums live (Adam Marsland was part of that wonderful experience, too).  I’d been a fan of his work for a long, long time before that, but even so, when Steve took the stage and recited/performed “Be Still” before a packed house of jaded LA pop music fans, I was utterly blown away by his passion, and by the conviction with which he delivered that simple, yet powerful message of spiritual awareness.  He hadn’t just written those lyrics… he was striving mightily to live those words, and encouraging all of us to do the same.  Heavy stuff.
But it’s not like Steve is some heavy duty, intense, preachy, stuffy guru type….Getting to know him, I soon discovered that while his spirituality and that “Be Still” message are very much at the center of his being, he’s also quite joyful, funny, and even downright silly and just plain goofy at times.  Steve’s a heckuva lotta fun to hang out with, and collaborating with him is a blast.  His enthusiasm is infectious, and writing with him is always a wondrous ride.  When he gets going and the ideas start to flow, words and thoughts and phrases and even some very nice melodic bits will come tumbling out of him while he bounces around the room, and it’s impossible not to get caught up in his creative moment.  “You’re The Beautiful” was like that.  I sat down at a piano, he stood next to me, and the song just kind of…. happened.
Helping to put this album together was a wonderful experience, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Steve and Mark and Carol…. not to mention The Honeys, and Carl, and Adam and the Chaos Band, and Rachel (doing that music video for “Child of Winter” was probably the most fun I’ve had on a project in a very long time).  The album itself, I think, is a remarkable portrait in that it shows how Steve’s words, and his message, work so well within so many different styles and genres of music.  I’d be hard-pressed to list any favorite tracks on “California Feeling,” because at any different time I’m likely to have a completely different answer.  There’s something on this record that fits just about every mood and state of mind imaginable.  And yet, it’s all Stevie.

For more information about Stevie’s new album check out the Beach Boys Examiner for more interviews with those involved here