Many new grandparents prepare for the birth of their first grandchild by making baby-clothes, sewing quilts, or helping to set up a nursery. But Liza Rey Butler, a professional harpist, followed her family musical tradition and went into the studio to record her family’s lullabies for her grandbaby’s birth. When Liza was a baby, her father, guitarist and orchestra leader Alvino Rey, played classical guitar “morning music,” in the kitchen while Liza’s mom, Luise King (one of the Grammy nominated King Sisters) took care of her. When Liza had her first child, Win, she played a tape of classical guitar music…so Win would be properly introduced to the world. Liza made sure her own babies heard the same family lullabies as infants. She would sing to and rock many of her friend’s babies too.
Recently, after playing the harp tracks of newly recorded family lullabies, many of her friends encouraged her to release them as an album. Everyone wanted them for their babies or grandkids (or for Grandma’s nap)!!! So Liza went back into the studio in Montreal and hired some top-notch flute and string players to finish out arrangements for this beautiful collection that includes several traditional lullabies.
As a companion piece Liza is completing an illustrated “good night” book based upon their favorite family lullaby, “Go to Sleep My Baby”. It was first sung to Baby Liza by her grandfather King Driggs, (Patriarch of ABC TV’s King Family Show in the1960s). Liza used to sing and dance in that show. For her, showbiz took the place of both play time and “family chores.” Growing up in Hollywood she was immersed in music.
Starting at age four she performed on her father’s first TV show “Ford Time” in San Francisco… it was an early comedy hour show in black and white. A few years later her mom would take Liza out of school in Hollywood to sing back up children vocal sessions at Capital Records… for Frank Sinatra, Doris Day and others… or they would go to the Wally Heider Studio for other sessions. Liza took up the piano and then eventually the harp, which her mom used to play in the Big Band Days.
After rock-band college days, Liza earned a Masters degree in performance harp. She had a career of playing harp for TV, session work, concerts, and playing in Reno-Tahoe orchestras for big live shows. She recorded a few of her own albums, toured with her own quintet, and played music festivals. After a hiatus when her boys were young, she played hundreds of educational school concerts in Nevada and Houston TX, often including a group of her sons and their pre-teen musician friends. Liza and her husband returned to his home in Maine to retire. She now plans to play shows for grandmas and their grandkids to promote her lullaby CD and books.
Who would have thought that singing lullabies would leave such a strong musical influence on her kids? Liza’s two sons, Win and Will Butler, are now core members of the Grammy winning group “Arcade Fire”. Liza has spent the last 10 years keeping up with them and is now helping them with her grandsons… and the music keeps coming.