Dream Palace


Dream Palace

(1 customer review)


Don Vappie’s latest CD with The NOLA String Kings


DREAM PALACE by The NOLA String Kings



I often miss being able to go into a record store and flip through the LPs as I did in my youth. As was said, a picture is worth a thousand words and for me so it was. I loved looking at the album covers. Using my fingers to flip through the angled stacks, the cover art projected so much information beyond the liner notes. But the liner notes were just as important. Being able to read about the musicians as well as see photos of them in action was so much more revealing for a wannabe musician. The album was the whole package.
In my young adult years, the LP was the album. We called it an album. It was a long play record that contained an album of songs. A collection that could be interpreted as a story. Sometimes there were various themes related to a particular place. Other times they were collections of songs that were closely related to the artist’s life at the moment. In some ways, I would think it could be an artist’s personal diary presented with melody and harmony for all to take in and interpret inside one’s own individuality. There were also collections of songs from various artists called compilations which often reminded me of a family vacation where one takes photographs of each place they had visited. The only thing connecting the photos is the fact that you were at each location during this trip. In a way, I would sometimes think of these compilation LPs as my own personal diary of musicians whose music I had encountered in this particular period of my life.
Today, however, streaming seems to be the dominant platform for the current generation. They have subscriptions to Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, etc. These platforms don’t allow for the personal feeling of unity with any particular artist’s music. It’s so different from my experience of having a physical LP that I could both touch and read, then carefully place the needle onto the disc in anticipation of intently listening to what’s coming. When we listened to an album, we had to be deliberate in our intentions. Each track opened a new door.
Besides the songs themselves, I believe most artists put considerable thought into the order of the tracks. When performers play to a live audience, they are making a presentation. It’s really no different than a chef who creates a special dish. The presentation is part of the experience. With music, we try to first greet everyone and make them comfortable. Then, we tell them a story. If we’re successful, they are immersed in the story and become part of the experience.
When we put this album together, we were thinking of finding the individual and collective connections between ourselves, the music and the listeners. I sincerely hope that in your introduction to the music of the NOLA String Kings you are able to take the time to relax and listen to the complete album. Here’s to immersing yourself into the experience of Dream Palace. Don Vappie



Additional information

Weight 75 g
Dimensions 16 × 15 × 1.5 cm

Recorded & Mastered at Esplanade Studios
March 3 & 4, 2020
Engineered & mixed by Misha Kachkachishvili

Photography by David Spielman
Cover painting by Peggy Usner
Artwork & package design by Dave Kelbie

Produced by Don Vappie at TrilPort Records

Special thanks to those involved in this
project which began just prior to the massive global shutdown due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. John Rankin and Matt Rhody for your time, efforts, trust, and especially for your patience due to the delays caused by the situation. To my friend, Misha, and the staff at Esplanade studios, you guys are the best. To David Spielman for going the extra mile and being there whenever I’ve needed you. To Peggy Usner for your amazing ability to translate our music into the visual expression of our love. To Dave Kelbie for all the great design ideas and advice. To all of our immediate family members who accept us as we are and make the sacrifices that allow us to continue our lifelong journey. To our fans and listeners, we appreciate you more than you know.


1 review for Dream Palace

  1. J.Larsen (verified owner)

    THe NOLA String Kings are a New Orleans based acoustic string trio excelling in versions of both traditional jazz repertoire like ‘Riverboat Shuffle’, ‘Limehouse Blues’, ‘Careless Love’, ‘That’s A Plenty’ and ‘Doctor Jazz’ and further add songs from the trio’s own book, among them the instrumental title song ‘Dream Palace’. The musicians of the trio are Don Vappie (bj, g, voc), Matt Rhody (vln, man, voc) and John Rankin (g, voc), all three musicians are great instrumentalists, but also contribute vocal on a selection of the songs i.e. Don Vappie’s tale of ‘The Blue Book of Storyville’, John Rankin’s reminder of an important ingredient in a proper New Orleans meal ‘Hot Sauce’ and further the indicative directory for a ‘Crescent City Moonwalk’ with vocal by Matt Rhody. There are a couple of songs pointing to the creole music tradition, Sidney Bechet’s ‘Si Tu Vois Ma Mere’ and the Caribbean influenced traditional ‘Couleur de Creole’, both instrumentals and among my favorites on the album. The interplay between the musicians is flawless and the album is very well procuced and enjoyable to listen to over and again, highly recommended.

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