A brilliant collection of songs rooted in the folk tradition and infused with strains of blues, jazz, and country; with innovative arrangements ranging widely, from solo acoustic guitar to full band, and all in the service of heartfelt lyrics.
Entering at 60, Cej hit the ground running with his debut solo recording, Sleepwalker in Paradise, featuring 13 tracks, 12 of which were written during a 10 month period, bridging 2010 and 2011, during which he was living and working in Hawaii and Germany. The 13th and final track was written in 1968, on the evening of Robert Kennedy's assassination. Deeply rooted in the Folk tradition, the songs explore a wide range of human relationships and experiences, blending folk sensibilities with more "modern" strains of blues, jazz, country, classical and popular song.
Cej is a singer, songwriter and guitarist who has been composing songs and instrumental pieces for 50+ years. Most recently, he was the lead guitarist with the Joel Rafael Band (1994-2004), along with bandmates Joel Rafael, Jamaica Rafael and Jeff Berkley. Prior to that he was lead guitarist and songwriter with: Small Talk, 1980-82 (MCA Records, 1981); Rock Rose, 1978-80 (Columbia Records, 1979); The Frisco Kids, 1971-78 (unsigned but lots of fun...may share demos someday); and Sweet Pain, 1969-71 (United Artists Records, 1971). During the "quiet years" (1983-93 and 2004-1010), Cej trained and worked as a Clinical Social Worker, traveling extensively, continuing to play and compose music when work and family life allowed, even sneaking in a few solo performances at house concerts in the Los Angeles area.
Born in Chicago, his family moved to Southern California before Cej's first birthday. They settled in the San Gabriel Valley, which was still an active agricultural area at the time. Taking up the classical violin at age 6, Cej abandoned this instrument a few years later, switching to guitar after falling in love with Folk Music (and Joan Baez) in 1960. The next several years were spent immersed in the thrill of learning new songs and musical styles, meeting other local musicians and beginning to write. During this time, the electric guitar made its way (via the blues) into Cej's tool box. After a year and half as a music major at the local community college, Cej dropped out, lured by hopes of a pending record deal, and joined in the formation of Sweet Pain, setting the course of his next several years as a professional musician (construction worker, laborer, ranch hand, grape picker, house painter...).
A partial list of acts Cej has shared the stage with during his musical career includes: Linda Ronstadt, Doug Kershaw, Gabor Szabo, Seals and Crofts, Dave Mason, Chuck Berry, Rodney Crowell, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Odetta, Richie Havens, Eric Anderson, Judy Collins, John Hammond Jr., Tom Paxton, Arlo Guthrie, John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Leon Russell, Steve Earle, Crosby Stills and Nash, Peter Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Berkley Hart, John Trudell, Ben Harper, Bruce Cockburn, Jackson Browne and Jimmy LaFave.
Influences include: Jascha Heifetz, Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Cisco Houston, Huddie "Lead Belly" Ledbetter, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, Big Bill Broonzy, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, John Hammond Jr., Jim Kweskin Jug Band, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi John Hurt, Reverend Gary Davis, Elizabeth Cotton, Merle Travis, Jefferson Airplane, Gabor Szabo, Chico Hamilton, Cal Tjader, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bob Dylan, Ian and Sylvia, Guy Carawan, Phil Oaks, Igor Stravinsky, Frank Zappa, Johnny Cash, The Carter Family, Beethoven, Debussy, Eric Satie, Mark Spoelstra,Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs, The Weavers, Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba, John Trudell, Mose Allison, Kurt Vonnegut, Tom Robbins, Hermann Hesse, Thomas Pynchon, Tony Hillerman, Carl Jung, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King.
For the record: "Cej" (say "siege") is a childhood nickname originally used by his older brother and best friend and recently adopted as the artists "handle".