How old is too old? And, is there ever a “too-old-age” for 2nd chances, restarting a career, or even starting up a new one?

Meet Pennsylvania retirement community buddies, Alan Tripp – 102, and Marvin Weisbord, 88. At age 100, Tripp wrote a poem about getting old; as a birthday present, Weisbord set it to music.

This past September, they hit the recording studio; in November they released their first album.  While they say they didn’t do this for the money, “Senior Song Book” was originally sold out.

With a 40s/50s/60s jazz/big band sound – reminiscent of the music they heard while growing up – only the titles might provide an inkling into their relative age(s). “Best Old Friends,” “I Can’t Remember Your Name,” and “Never Too Late for Love,” are just a few of eight new songs (plus two remixes).

Although previously employed in radio/advertising and consulting work, this life-long poet and his (newer) friend, the pianist, never had careers in music.  

Now, two years after starting this journey, Tripp as lyricist/producer and Weisbord as musician/composer, have developed a passion for their work and an increasing following (they’ve been interviewed by People magazine, NPR and many of the major networks). Buoyed by the recent press, both say this joint endeavor has surpassed their wildest dreams.

Here’s their brief interview:

You’ve had an enormous amount of press in a short period of time, esp. since you were both “unknown” before this! What do you attribute this to?

The tremendous response to the Senior Song Book had several propellants:  1) The news that two guys, 102-year-old and 88 years old, could actually write and produce a song album. 2) The open hole in the market for music with a melody you can actually hum and words you can remember. 3) Damn good execution.

Listening to your work, it appears as if your influence probably comes from your (childhood) upbringing. Is this the genre you automatically harken back to and/or did you just “hear” this music in your head?

Our music is in the style, the genre, of the great Broadway and Hollywood songs of the 40’s-60’s.  But the words are geared to the 2020’s — with a very adult point of view, an occasional tongue-in-cheek. 

Come to think of it, what was in your head? Did the melodies come first or the written word/poems?

Most often, Alan wrote the lyrics first and Marvin put the words to music….

What message did you hope to convey to the listener? (Did you create the music for yourselves only? Is something like “I Can’t Remember Your Name” meant to be written as tongue-in-cheek or a reflection of your life/reality?)

Each song incorporates a life story or experience.

What do you make of your rising popularity and recognition?

(As said above) We think that is why so many people find something in the album that relates to their own lives.

“You’re so engaging, but we’re both aging, 

What was once on the tip of my tongue,

Seems to elude me, so I say crudely,

It ain’t like it when I was young,

I know I ought to kiss you, but baby there’s an issue,

I just can’t remember your name.”

Senior Song Book was first released on Nov. 15  and is available for streaming on Spotify and iHeartRadio; also available on Amazon. www.seniorsongbook.com.

Cyma Shapiro
Cyma Shapiro is an author/blogger/writer/speaker/talk radio show host and TV producer. One of the preeminent original (national/international) voices for motherhood over 40, Cyma is also the creator of NURTURE: Stories of New Midlife Mothers, the first art gallery show dedicated to motherhood over 40, which traveled North America for several years; MotheringintheMiddle.com - the largest website in the world dedicated to parenthood/fatherhood/motherhood over 40; and The Zen of Midlife Mothering, an anthology dedicated to parenting over 40.

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