(08 July 2012) Savannah is a musical artist, graphic designer and painter from Australia who has made a life in Israel. Her musical recording career began with her work with the progressive rock band Xamavar. Her solo work began with demo recordings that evolved into the Red Dead Week EP in 2010 and Potential Black full length album in 2011. Follow the links left to our reviews of thesed recordings. Links to the artist's official website and FaceBook pages are also provided.
Savannah's latest project is entitled Savannah and the Stringz, memorializing the trio she performs with regularly in the Tel Aviv and surrounding areas. Savannah (vocals, piano) fronts the trio. Tomer Einat (violin, vocals) and Noam Elron (double bass, glockenspiel, tambourine) complete the lineup. Songs are written by Savannah, except for the three well-played and superbly-arranged covers. Thoughtful string-based arrangements are by various combination of the musical trio.
This album was made possible with the generous funds of the Israeli Ministry of Culture, the Israeli Ministry of Immigrant Absorption and ACUM's New Artist Grant. It was produced by Noam Elron with Savannah and Tomer Einat; recorded superbly by Bill Tsur and Yonatan Kossov at Bardo Studios; and was expertly mixed and mastered by by Yoram Vazan at Firehouse Studios.
The Savannah and the Stringz album is comprised of three categories of music. These include, Savannah's original songs reworked for the trio; all-new material that has not been recorded previously; and three covers of well-known songs previously recorded by famous artists. Savannah has contributed to several Tori Amos tribute events previously with no recordings emerging. We were delighted to finally hear the delightful string-based cover of "Winter" / "All These Years" medley performed by the trio and recorded for this album.
The album also includes the trio's cover of "Superstition" popularized by Stevie Wonder. While this track has been covered by many other artists, Savannah's version has an especially bluesy feel that clearly demonstrates the singer's vocals and piano playing, and Stringz instrumental chops. It is fantastic. Those familiar with Savannah's alternative style might find her cover of a Britney Spears track somewhat surprising. However, "Toxic" is rather sparsely arranged in comparison to the pop original; but it's Savannah's evocative West End-style performance and the Stringz equally dramatic instrumental that makes this version work so well.
Listeners will clearly hear a tribute to the locomotive and cars in the new Stringz arrangement of "Train Song," a stunning number that first emerged on the Potential Black album. "Raincloth," which also appears on that album is given the Stringz treatment on this album. Savannah's gorgeous vocals and piano melody are complemented by revised and more powerful string parts.
"Moonlight," which dates back to Savannah's earliest demo recordings, has been significantly reworked on this album and both vocal parts and vast string arrangements extended to span a running length of over seven minutes. The new version is dramatically performed and must be even more wonderful to see performed live than the outstanding recording on this album. Also previously from Potential Black, "Warp and Weft" is warmed up with additional string parts and otherwise true to the original. Savannah's growth as a vocalist shines on this track. Listen to her power, previously heard only with Xamavar.
The first all-new track on Savannah and the Stringz is the cabaret-style opener "Recipe For Catastrophe." A vision of Savannah dramatically performing this number on stage with strings and piano in an orchestra pit below clearly emerges as the stunning song develops. "Better Off Alone" is the most different track on the album. It is a bluesy number designed for a live venue that blends slight allusions to of Katie Melua, the cabaret style and the Stringz sometimes dischordant sounds. The album concludes with a very short, almost indescribable and delightfully playful track entitled "Revolutionary Biscuits of Italy." Fortunately, interested listeners can hear it at YouTube here!
We have had a review copy of the Savannah and the Stringz album since April. While the artists have not firmly decided on how and when to release the project, Savannah told us, "[It] represents a huge musical exploration for me into many genres I always loved." A great disc, we encourage the group to move forward to release so that it can be appreciated by a much broader audience.