When seasoned Bakersfield vocalist Theresa Spanke began thinking about where to record her latest CD, she went back and forth between studio and stage. And then she realized the stage is her studio.
Over the decades, the singer has graced many a theater, nightclub and honky-tonk, performing to crowds of every kind. On stage is where she feels most at home.
"I am very pleased and excited about it," said Spanke of her new CD, "Live from Texas." Spanke will give Bakersfield audiences the somewhat rare pleasure of seeing her perform Wednesday evening at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.
"Since it was a live performance, I had the opportunity to sing an eclectic collection of songs from the '40s through the '80s. The CD includes some old classic standards, some country, blues, pop, Top 40, even a show tune."
The ability to leap from genre to genre has always been one of Spanke's strengths and one that runs in her family: father Ted Sr. played piano and organ, mother Bonnie played the standup bass, and brothers Roger and Teddy are well respected in local music circles.
"I'm very proud of my family. They are all excellent singers as well. They only knew that I went to Texas to do a show; however, they did not even know about this CD until after the fact."
The songs were recorded in February by producer/engineer Tony Brown in front of a live audience at famed music venue Theatre 166 in Carrollton, Texas. Spanke said the idea to release the full live recording never came to mind until playback.
"We realized that we had captured some pretty cool stuff. We also included some of the talking that I did with the audience and band members. It was blessed to have some amazing Texas-based players on the gig, and the CD shows off the talents of these great musicians as well. It was a very fun evening."
Among the classics included on the 10-track CD are live reinterpretations of "Fly Me to the Moon," covers of Bruce Springsteen's "Fire," Delbert McClinton's, "Two More Bottles of Wine," Bob Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight."
After mixing the raw tracks in Dallas with Brown, Spanke recorded an additional two tracks, including a cover of the Buck Owens' classic "Together Again" as a duet with singer Rudy Gatlin of Gatlin Brothers fame.
"It was such an honor and a thrill for me, because I used to practice harmonies listening to the Gatlin Brothers, who were among my musical idols. Rudy (Gatlin) told me a story about when the Gatlin Brothers performed at the Crystal Palace. He said he felt as if he was channeling Buck when he sang 'Together Again.'"
Spanke is currently in Texas, where she will be performing at Theatre 166 on Saturday. She then heads back to Bakersfield for Wednesday's Crystal Palace show, where she will backed by local veterans the Tex Pistols, fronted by brother Teddy on guitar. Roger Spanke will be joining the group for the performance.
"I would say to expect a lot of fun and a large variety of music. It has been a while since I worked around here, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It has been a very long time since all three of us have been on stage at the same time, and it will be a real treat, especially for my parents, who have not seen us perform together for years."