The Ivan Variations

When I first put out my solo album, “Ivan in Paris“, back in 1998, the title track was intended to be a total afterthought, buried at track 14; at the time, I had no reason to think it had any future at all. Here’s that original version, played by myself with Tim Dickey on dobro:

Right around then, the Philharmonic got started, and it became evident that “Ivan” was a great way to showcase our terrific horn players, and give them some room to blow, and we played it frequently for the next decade or two, sometimes with different rhythmic variations, but that was just the tip of the eventual iceberg.

Last year, we booked a show at the Once Lounge for Groundhog Day, and our drummer, Jerome Deupree, made the mistake of suggesting we just play the same song all night, in keeping with the Groundhog Day concept, and that’s when things got out of control. We wrote two different sets of lyrics for it; we had our trombonists Bob Pilkington and Dave Harris do completely different arrangements of; even transcribed and played it backwards, and we had a ball. The challenge, of course, being making such a concept entertaining for a full set for the audience, and not just the players.

The Ivan Variations” (or at least some of them):

“Ivan in Paris” -Basically the normal version we’ve played for years, plain old regulation “Ivan in Paris”, albeit in this case recorded live at Janice Perrin’s birthday party back on July 26 of 2014 and featuring Rikki Bates on drums and Jim Gambino on keys; always a good occasion to give our horn players some room to stretch (in this case, that’s Berke McKelvey doing exactly that.) Wanted to start with a nice long normal excerpt, so you know what we’re departing from!

The balance is all from last year’s First Annual Groundhog Day show, which was such a blast we decided we’d keep going this year, too.
The selections are:

    “Ivan Quickly”
    “Eventually There’s a Rhyme” (aka Ivan Meets Gloria), with words by David Greenberger
    “Ivan Pilkington”, arranged by trombonist Bob Pilkington
    “Ivan Goes to Church”, arranged by Dave Harris, who plays keys on this one (he was mostly on tuba the rest of the night
    “sariP ni navI” (Ivan backwards), transcribed by Pilk
    “Ivan Ska”

The players: Dinty Child, guitar and mandocello; John Clark, string bass; Cliff Spencer, keys; Jerome Deupree, drums; Dave Harris, tuba, occasional trombone and keys; Berke McKelvey, tenor sax; Bob Pilkington and Quinn Carson, trombones; Sam Dechenne, trumpet; Fred Boak, vox, moral support, and recording; and me on guitar, vox, and arrangement ideas (where otherwise unspecified.)

Sexy Ivan With Bongo“- Chandler demo, recorded in The Hole in Truro. Among the new “Ivan”s for 2018 is this pokey little thing… at this point, I can no longer remember who I thought I was imitating – I’ll bet it was somebody – but isn’t that the way, though?

We also hope to be doing “Elvis in Paris” and an as-yet-untitled upside down version (to go with last year’s backwards version. Does this idea have legs or not? We’ll see on Groundhog Day at the Once Lounge…

Merry Christmas 2017 from Chandler – Christmas Is A Foot!


Here’s the link for this year’s Christmas mix, “Christmas Is A Foot”, which includes my demos of both “I Used To Like Christmas” and the as-yet-unreleased “Merry Christmas, There You Go”, and a bunch of other stuff by a whole bunch of other folks, too!

Download here from Dropbox.



I Used To Like Christmas

“I Used To Like Christmas“- Chandler Travis ROUGH demo

It has recently dawned on me that, for a guy who actually loves Christmas, I have written way too many really grouchy Christmas songs. That said, sometimes it’s hard not to; here’s another.

Song of the Weak!!! – Christmas Edition by Chandler Travis


Sally’s Christmas Finery

“Sally’s Christmas Finery” -the Chandler Travis Philharmonic at the Midway Cafe, Dec. 18, 2016, recorded by the Valet.

Well, what the hell it’s Christmas, kids! This is a rather long free improv, but kinda fun… exactly the kind of crazy thing that happens at the Midway, which we’ll be returning to next year (!!) on […]

Watch us Live online from Mountain Stage

Our performance on Mountain Stage this Sunday (Nov 19) will be available for your viewing & listening pleasure via streaming video at

The whole show starts at 7pm EST and we’re the first featured performer, at 7:05. Be sure to keep watching, as the rest of the show promises to be great. We are […]

That’s Nerve

“That’s Nerve” – the Chandler Travis Philharmonic, recorded by Chris Blood, Feb. 26, 2007.

I’ve always loved this one! Great lyric by David Greenberger; the recording is from 2007, I think bundled in with the recording sessions for my solo album, “After She Left” -still lots of outtakes from those sessions we fully intend to […]

O Pinchy We Hardly New Ye


“O Pinchy We Hardly Knew Ye” – Chandler Travis, recorded and mixed by me, here, with surprise drum and bass programming and additional mixing by Christopher G. Brown, at his place.

My girlfriend has crabs, and a couple starfish, and a mantis shrimp, and too much algae, in an aquarium near her desk […]

I Viborate

“I Viborate” – the Catbirds at the Wellfleet Oyster Fest, Oct. 15, 2017; recorded and mixed by Chris Blood.

The Catbirds had a fabulous time making their Oyster Fest debut a couple weeks ago, as you can hear; this is our version of a song that was recorded by both Conway Twitty and Bobby […]


“Cooties” – the Chandler Travis Philharmonic at the Musica 20th anniversary party, Oct. 1st, 2017, recorded by The Valet aka Fred Jodsworth T. Boak.

Musica is a fabulous music store in Hudson, NY, owned by our good friend Rob Caldwell. I bought a perfectly good guitar there once, and I’d rather do just about anything […]

How Do You Keep Your Hair So Fluffy?


“Fluffy“- the Chandler Travis Philharmonic at Valentine’s in Albany, NY, recorded Nov. 3rd, 2012 by The Valet (F.J. Boak)

Ok, so imagine you’ve just been hired to play a few gigs with the Philharmonic, most of whom you’ve never met, and one of your first tasks is to recreate controlled chaos in general, […]