Jay Ansill's Cheese Project


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The first full collection of Cheese Project songs “THERE WILL BE CHEESE”, is now available on iTunes as well as! (Or from wherever you download music)

I’ve combined the six previously released tracks with ten new ones to create an album that will have you smiling, laughing, groaning and maybe even crying a little.  

The Songs:

AFTERNOON DELIGHT. Made famous by the Starland Vocal Band. For this one I recruited my friends Shilough Hopwood, Larissa Hopwood and Juliana Storozuk of the band Honeychurch. (Also check out Larissa’s music for children as Lolly Hopwood and the Let’s Play Today Bunch and Shilough and Juliana in the heavy Metal band Evil-Merödach) With Dave Van Allen on pedal steel and Mark Cristofaro on drums.

NEVER MY LOVE. Claudia Balant brings a sweet vulnerability to this song that was originally made famous by The Association. This is an acoustic take on the song with luscious backing harmonies featuring Shilough and Larissa.

JENNIFER JUNIPER. I’ve always loved this song by Donovan, and when I realized I could put together a real quintet of woodwinds, it seemed like a natural.

ODE TO BILLY JOE. There is lots of discussion as to whether or not Bobbie Gentry’s haunting ballad can be considered “Cheese”, but I make the rules around here and I knew that we could do something special with Jennie Avila singing this one. Dave Van Allen adds some haunting pedal steel guitar and Phil D’Agostino lays down some soulful bass. Cheese? You decide.

PRECIOUS AND FEW. One of the real pleasures of the project was to get to work with Danny Weiss, who I met in the 80s when he was singing and playing guitar with Tony Trischka and Skyline. He’s a fantastic singer and a blast to work with. He’s already recorded four songs (two of which are included here) and more are planned. This also features the gorgeous backing vocals of Shilough, Larissa and Juliana. Larry Cohen, Danny’s old bandmate in Skyline, plays bass; Chandra Naraine is on percussion and the fantastic Jerry Busher on drums.

SEASONS IN THE SUN. This is the one that started it all! Terry Jacks has given us one of the cheesiest pop songs ever and the Cheese Project was inspired by this song.

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN’. Natalia Farrán steams up your iPod with her sultry take on Nancy Sinatra’s standard. Mark Cosgrove will also raise the hairs on the back of your neck with his bluesy, sinewy guitar. With Phil D’Agostino on bass and Jerry Busher on drums.

A SUMMER SONG. Shilough Hopwood and I do an acoustic take on Chad and Jeremy’s sweet ode to summer and lost love.

TIPTOE THROUGH THE TULIPS. Murray Callahan rescues this song from Tiny Tim, and, along with guitar wizard Rolly Brown, restores it to its rightful status as a charming and affecting tune.

HONEY. Another Cheese standard. This one was handed down to us from Bobby Goldsboro. When I describe the Cheese Project’s mission to people, this is almost always the first song people suggest. Anne Hills lends her angelic voice for that signature operatic descant.

JEAN. Originally a hit for Oliver and sung here by Irish songbird Fil Campbell. This was written by Rod McKuen, the Poet Laureate of Cheese. 

SUMMER RAIN. Johnny Rivers’ song showed me the power of the nostalgic feelings that these songs can inspire. Hearing this song late one night and listening to it in a way I hadn’t before was what made me think that the idea of the Cheese Project was something that could work on different levels.

OH BABE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY. Hurricane Smith’s one hit seemed like a perfect vehicle for an acoustic swing treatment - with guitarist Joe Ellis and accordionist Dallas Vietty along with Phil D’Agostino on bass.

TO SIR WITH LOVE. No collection like this could be complete without this song, which was originally sung by Lulu. Here the British singer/songwriter and actress Sadie Pickering gives it a sweetly unique twist.

(Theme from) THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. Spanish/English jazz diva Natalia Farrán shows her vulnerable side on this beautiful song by Andre Previn and originally sung by Dionne Warwick. This one features a lush arrangement for harp, string and French horns.

BRANDY (You’re a Fine Girl). The Classic hit from the band Looking Glass is taken to a new level with vocals and guitars played by Danny Weiss, bass and keyboards by Larry Cohen and former Fugazi drummer Jerry Busher. This also features a killer horn section.

Lots of songs are in the works featuring lots of fantastic singers and players, so please stay tuned!




Spring Cheese

It’s been an exciting spring for The Cheese Project.

 Several new songs have been released, including “Honey” and “Oh Babe, What Would You Say”, (available at and we are looking forward to new releases including Danny Weiss singing “Brandy” and Natalia Farrán’s take on the “Theme from Vally of the Dolls”.

We were featured on a short radio spot on WHYY’s “NewsWorks” and I was interviewed by the legendary Gene Shay on his radio program and got to play a few songs with Larry Cohen and Jennie Avila live on the air.

The Cheese Project also played its first live show featuring a core band of Danny Weiss (guitar and vocals) Larry Cohen (Bass) and Sean Trischka on drums as well as myself along with special guests Mary Olive Smith and Tony Trischka. I am hoping to do more live shows with a variety of musicians so keep checking back to see what we’re up to.

As part of what turned out to be a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to pay for song royalties, my old friend Paul Messing designed a few T-shirts and coffee mugs and a snazzy baseball cap that can be purchased at


Send me a picture of you with one of the Cheese Project items and I’ll send you a free song of your choice.

The responses to what we’re doing have been fantastic. And things will be getting more and more exciting as we bring in more great singers and instrumentalists.

And please write with thoughts, ideas, suggestions, etc.

Come back soon!!




The Cheesy Beginnings

I remember exactly where I was.  

I was headed north on Rte 1 just north of Brunswick, Maine and it was late at night. What I can’t say is why the song “Seasons in the Sun”  crossed my mind, but in some complicated, twisted series of associations, there it was.

I would have been about 12 when that song was a hit for Terry Jacks, and even then I knew it was a terrible terrible song. Overly sentimental and dramatic lyrics along with an insipid melody. And yet, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I thought it might be funny to record the song in my home studio. If I did it perfectly straight and recorded the instruments well, as if it was a good song, it could really be hilarious.

Then I started to think of other songs that fell into the same category; songs that made you cringe.  Bobby Goldsboro’s “Honey”, “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero”, and so on. There was no shortage of cheesy pop songs to choose from. I started thinking that I could do a whole CD of these. It started as a joke. (Hey! “I Started a Joke” by the Bee Gees might be a good one to do.)

A few weeks later I found myself in a 24 hour supermarket at about three in the morning. I don’t think there were any other customers in the store and the staff was restocking the shelves. This late at night, the guys working there keep the store’s sound system was turned up pretty loud. While I was shopping, Johnny Rivers’ “Summer Rain” came on. This was a song I never really thought about. I probably had heard it hundreds of times, but I never really listened to it. Even then I wasn’t really paying attention. But when it got to the chorus, the lyrics hit me: “everybody just kept on playing Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” 

And I remembered a documentary I had seen about the Sgt Pepper album and somebody saying that, when it was released, you could walk down the street and hear the album blasting out of the windows. And I thought about my own memories of that record, which came out when I was really just discovering music as a kid. And I thought about this song, and how, despite the fact that it was hardly a song I’d consider a favorite, it was something I knew; part of my musical landscape. It was like two layers of nostalgia: the nostalgia evoked by hearing the lyrics reference the Beatles, and the nostalgia evoked by the song itself.

I know this is hardly a profound thought, but I found myself welling up right there in the Acme Market at 3AM. There were tears in my eyes. 

At the time I was working in NY on a theater project, and I discussed these ideas with the cast. For the remainder of the run, the backstage was filled with suggestions for songs. It seems I had tapped into something. Everybody had these guilty pleasures.

When I told Shilough Hopwood of Honeychurch about the idea of doing a project based on cheesy pop songs, his response was “I was born to be on this project!” When I spoke to Anne Hills about it, she immediately claimed “The Elusive Butterfly”. Every musician I spoke to had some secret guilty pleasure that they always wanted to do. After I made a few little demos in my home studio and shared them with friends on the Facebook Cheese Project page, enthusiasm and momentum started building. Soon the productions were getting more ambitious and various friends were joining in as singers and players. The list of participants is growing and is getting quite impressive! 

There were too many songs to limit this to a single CD, I like the idea of making this an ongoing project so I came up with the idea of releasing them exclusively as downloads and soon this website will be the place where you can find the latest songs.

My hope is that it will be more than that. I’d like this to become a place to come visit and share ideas and suggestions and memories of these classic cheesy songs. I’ll be posting pictures from recording sessions and writing about various things, so please come back soon!