Image © LPM Records 2006
Image © LPM Records 2006
(03 February 2007) Rise (LFM Records (USA) 0126, 2006) is the debut album for Indie Alt Rock singer Renfey. The twelve track CD combines gritty guitars, urban beats as well as lush orchestral arrangements. Renfey sings with passion and exhibits raw emotion in these exciting tracks. There is an ethereal feel to these songs and Renfey maintains soaring vocals that are lovely and crystalline.
This artist grew up in the foothills of the Sierras. There has always been a music presence while growing up and she avidly explored the arts with theater, books, philosophizing and the fine art of dreaming, listening to the jazz greats along with
her parents collection of the classics and rock and roll. At the tender age of ten, Renfey begged her parents for voice lessons. "I have always sought the inspiration of music. I cannot remember a time I didn't sing. My lessons in piano, guitar and violin were a disaster. I knew I wanted music, but I was so absorbed in singing. It gave me enough to write songs and scream out melodies, but I have been on a search for the music in my head since I was five. I plundered my parents music collection, which was a strange mix of classical, rock and roll and folk. I would find that one song and just play it over and over again from the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel to Sarah McLaughlin and Billy Holiday." These musical influences helped to create her own stamp on the music scene through writing songs, playing guitar and searching out fellow musicians for late night jam sessions.
In Los Angeles, she began performing at the local coffee houses before forming a band and booking clubs such as The Mint and The Knitting Factory to a growing audience. Still working solo both writing and orchestrating the band, her need to expand her music led to the search for a producer. "There was so much music swirling in my head, but I needed a musical partner". She met up with producer Kor whose background as a classical composer and his passion for world music, instrumentation and wild wizardry of strings and beats seemed a manifestation of all the strange notions in Renfey's head. This union began a dynamic collaboration of songs and music, both discovering a freedom in each other and a shared artistic vision. Renfey said, "The second day I met Kor, I was inspired by a simple piano part he was playing, and injust one vocal take, this song just flowed out of me. It's called 'Catch My Fall.' I had to put it on the album; it is the beginning."
Before going into the studio to write and record the album, Renfey did an LA tour in such venues as The Mint, The Viper Room and The Key Club. Renfey has also been featured in the award winning Lifetime television series "Strong Medicine", Billy Bob Thornton's critically acclaimed film "The Badge", the end title song for Salma Hayek's directorial debut "The Maldonado Miracle" and CBS's "The Handler."
The opening track, "Come Down," clearly shows Renfey's appeal with the splendid vocals and synthesized beats. "Over occupation," is a driven alternative rock song that sends its message of unity inside a huge wall-of-sound chorus. This song, as well as "Right Here,"appears in the 20th Century Fox film Hangman's Curse along with being featured in a
few other television and film projects. "That was really an amazing experience, and the fans of the film have been so incredible in supporting the music. It was a new challenge to write a song for a film, to feel the theme of the story and then translate that into the words and music and still be true to myself musically. It just seemed to fit. There is a darkness to the film that ultimately opens up into the lightness of redemption, of acceptance. I had to put "Over Occupation" on the album because I love the song and because it has been part of this whole experience," according to Renfey.
The title track highlights Renfey's exquisite range creating a moodiness and exhilaration of the senses. She easily gets the listener's attention through her emotive and striking vocals. Her clarity is evident in "Right Here." She has a soulful, harmonious sound. A more jazzy feel comes across in "Undeniable" and "Cravings." Her expressiveness offers an articulate revelation of feeling. "Desert" continues with an electronica infusion, and segues into "Old Man" with its soulful vulnerability. Renfey's breathy vocals underscore "Light Air I Breathe." There is a lushness to her passionate rendition. The sexy "Catch My Fall" oozes with luxurious tones. "Journey" is a song about revelations of self-discovery. The soothing, layered melody of "Wicked" continues to define this artist, with her dreamlike tapesty of sounds.
Renfey has not stopped writing songs with the release of "Rise", and she is planning and rehearsing for a West Coast tour. "What an amazing time in my life, all those nights of writing and exploring my mystical side, but the modern rock warrior in me is loving playing these songs live."
Resonant sounds emanate throughout this wonderful debut album. Renfey effortlessly reaches new heights with her passionate and emotive vocals. Some of the tracks have a mystical feel blended with flowing melodies. "Rise" is a
dynamic album that intersperses a wonderful musical energy with intimate and emotional lyrics. Renfey has an amazing allure that is rich and powerful.--Audrey Elliot in New York