Cej Is Born
Born in Chicago, raised in Southern California, Cej took up the classical violin at age 6. At 11, he abandoned it for the guitar, teaching himself to play by listening to Woody Guthrie’s songs; as played by Rambling Jack Elliot and Cisco Houston initially, then by Woody himself (along with Cisco, Sonny Terry and Ledbelly). Cej wrote his first song, Let ‘em Be The Last, on the evening of Bobbie Kennedy’s assassination. It was included on his debut solo CD, Sleepwalker In Paradise, released decades later.
Music Major, Dropout, and The Electric Guitar
Seduced by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Cej picked up the electric guitar in his teens and, after a short run as a music major, he dropped out and joined a rock and roll band. Twelve years, three bands and three eponymous albums later (Sweet Pain on United Artists, 1970; Rock Rose on CBS Sony, 1979; and Small Talk on MCA, 1981), he became disillusioned with the music business and dropped out again, this time to return to school.
Joel Rafael Band
Newly armed with a master’s degree in social work, he launched a new career in the mental health field. Soon thereafter, he and hometown friend, Joel Rafael, started playing coffee houses together. This bloomed into the Joel Rafael Band, a ten-year run (1994-2004) and five CDs, including two collections of Woody Guthrie songs.
Working, Traveling, and Writing Songs
After the Joel Rafael Band, Cej began to work as a traveling mental health consultant. Based out of California, he traveled throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa … collecting experiences and writing songs along the way.
Sleepwalker in Paradise
His first solo CD, Sleepwalker In Paradise, was released in 2013. Listed among the Folk-DJ Top Albums for 2014, it was also embraced by 75 AAA and Americana stations in the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Israel.
Cej’s latest CD, Clovis Man, was released in August 2018. It’s a collection of 16 tracks, built around a core of songs written while he was living and working in Clovis New Mexico, but including a few older Cej songs that found a home here. See “Fresh Stuff”.
Cej performs solo, capturing the energy and spirit of his recordings in his live performances. With a unique guitar style, listeners often remark “it sounds like there’s a band up there”.