While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews,
the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended
or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information.
Click on the title to view the article.
Elizabeth and the Catapult
Electron Love Theory
More Digest Entries
Previous Digest Entries
image © Anova Music Ltd 2010
Violently Delicate (2008)
Lee Triffon Interview and Photos (2008)
click on image for Eatliz MySpace
The Eatliz Lineup
photo © Anova Music 2010
click on image for Eatliz MySpace
Lee Triffon (lead vocals)
photo © Liron Erel Photography 2010
click on image for Eatliz BandCamp
image © Anova Music Ltd 2010
click on image for Lee's MySpace
(site featuring Lee's solo tracks)
Lee Triffon (lead vocals)
photo © Anova Music Ltd
(22 December 2010) The second full-length album from Eatliz-- Tel Aviv, Israel's award-winning progressive rock band -- is entitled Teasing Nature (Anova Music (Israel), 2010). The album is available in a deluxe digipak including the CD, bonus DVD and a stunning illustrated booklet as well as an mp3 download edition. The 12-track DVD includes the band's animated videos and excellently produced live performances of the band's favorite songs. The digipak edition is a must for both dedicated fans and newcomers, especially those that can't see the band's live performances. In 2010 the band toured popular venues across Europe. They are scheduled to perform in Canada and the USA in 2011.
The Eatliz lineup is fronted by Lee Triffon (vocals, piano)
and includes: Guy Ben Shetrit (guitars), Or Bahir (guitars, programming), Gabash (guitars, vocals), Amit Erez (guitars, vocals), Omry Hanegby (drums) and Hadar Green (bass, percussion, flute, vocals). In addition to the lyrics, Guy is also responsible for the band's award winning animations. Additional musicians featured on the album are: Omri Behr (keyboards), Sefi Zisling (trumpet), Tamir Muskat (programming on "Tears" and "Mystical Lady"). Vocals and clapping on "Voice Over" are provided by Yair Yona and Anova Music's CEO, Joshua Perry.
Eatliz won the "Best Cip of the Decade" in the Israeli videoclip channel ceremony. The animated clip for the song "Attractive," directed by Yuval and Merav Natan. Their second animated clip to the song "Hey" created great enthusiasm and interest around the world and has won prices from international animation festivals. A new animated clip for "Lose This Child" is certain to draw similar acclaim.
In early 2010, nearly two years after the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Violently Delicate (review | interview), Eatliz releaseed the Delicately Violent EP. The EP included nreleased songs that are known to those that attend the band's unconventional breathtaking performances. Delicately Violent continued the eclectic mixture of styles that has been the identifying mark of Eatliz. The EP combined sophisticated bittersweet madness and deviously enchanting melodies. The EP also includes a cover to Bjork’s "Army Of Me."
In our recent interview, Guy and Lee told us that several recordings intended for a second full length album were scrapped before release. They wanted the new album to demonstrate significant growth since earlier work. After a period of self-relection, soul-searching, renewal and lineup changes, twelve all new tracks emerged. The band trialed them in live performances and Teasing Nature was finally born.
Although the material continues to be quite eclectic, the tracks on the 42-minute long Teasing Nature album flow almost seamlessly from one to the next. The producer has done an incredible job capturing the band's live energy in the studio album. When asked to characterize the difference between the new album and the band's earlier work, Lee told us that the material was denser. We could not agree more. Not only are the songs varied track to track, but the band have captured the true meaning of progressive in their new songs with tempo, mood and style changes exquisitely embodied within several of the tracks.
All songs on Teasing Nature are composed by Guy Ben Shetrit and Eatliz except "Got It" by Lee Triffon. The album was produced by Eatliz. Lee told us in a recent interview that she prefers to write in English. Lee is well known for her especially expressive live performances.
The album opens with the somewhat bluesy "Your House." Although soft keyboards introduce the song, rocking guitars and bass enter the fray in the dramatic chorus where Lee's powerful and crystalline voice soars above the arrangement. Incredible guitar work by the lineup drives the powerful pulse of "Zoo." Backing vocal work by the men join Lee's percussive, and at times frantically expressive, lead vocals. Available as a pre-release teaser for all to enjoy, the accessible and rocking "Berlin" includes vocal work from several of the band's members. A certain live audience favorite, with its vast tempo and style changes, "O.K." varies from almost-ballad to powerful rocker. Lee begins to show some of her softer and more melodic style in "Falling Up," a thick and densely-arranged guitar-based ballad. The band join her in the rousing choruses.
The stunning and delicate piano ballad "Got It," written entitrely by Lee Triffon, was also shared by Eatliz as an mp3 free of charge. One of our favorite tracks on the album, Lee's crystalline layers of vocalise perfectly balance the lyrical passages. Chosen for the band's first video, "Lose This Child" is an accessible soft-rock tune. In addition to its highly memorable chorus with lush harmony vocals, outstanding trumpet solos add tremendous texture to the song's two instrumental breaks.
The contrast in Teasing Nature continues to develop with "Nine," an upbeat progressive rock tune with powerful guitar work and layers of rousing vocals, soft vocal work and expressive Steve Howe-styled guitar solos during instrumental breaks. The dense arrangements continue into "Voice Over," a track with further embedded style changes and vast guitar excursions. Percussive guitar- and keyboard-based instrumentals fill "Goldie." The band's male repetitive vocal harmonies are backed by layers of Lee's vocalise.
The album concludes with two standouts. First is the stunning (and source of the album's title) track "Tears." Tremendous vocal harmonies and rich instrumental arrangements characterize a warm chorus. The powerful instrumental conclusion will likely conclude the main set or encore of a few Eatliz live performances. The album concludes with the delicately sung and radio friendly, accessible "Mystical Lady." Keyboard- and guitar-based instrumentals perfectly complement Lee's crystalline vocal delivery. Production of the final track is outstanding.
Teasing Nature deluxe digipak edition is currently released in Israel and can be obtained there or ordered directly from Anova Music for shipment worldwide. The mp3 version of the album is available for immediate download from Anova Music as well. Release shows have been scheduled in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa for January 2011. After that, the band will travel to Canada
and the USA to further promote the
album. Eatliz have found their stride with Teasing Nature and continue to have a very bright future indeed.
click for Elane's official website
image © R. Hartmann | Glenvore-Art 2010
The Fire of Glenvore (2004)
The Silver Falls (2008)
click for Elane's official website
photo © R. Hartmann | Glenvore-Art 2010
click for Elane's official website
photo © R. Hartmann | Glenvore-Art 2010
(26 February 2011) A significant artistic development by Elane, formerly recognized as a German dark-folk (file under alternative/indie) band, is the release of their fourth full length, and now very progressive album entitled Arcane (Curzweyhl (Germany), 2011). Gorgeous artwork adorns the digipak and 16-page full color booklet that accompanies the 15-track 55-minute long CD. The album combines extremely well produced folk, celtic, middle-eastern and rock arrangements with solo and harmony layers from the band's stunning lead vocalist Joran.
Elane's roots are in the deep forests of the German Sauerland. The characteristic mixture of organic and electronic sounds has become their trademark. The amazing voice of lead singer Joran Elane as well as acoustic and electric guitars, violin, viola, cello, gentle soundscape, percussion and bombastic orchestral arrangements create the band's distinctive sound.
Elane's fourth album is built on three musical pillars. Listeners will recognize the medieval-folkloristic foundation of Elane. Next, world music contributes increasingly to the sound of the new album. Finally, progressive rock is more restrained in comparison to The Silver Falls to emphasize the folkloristic impression of Arcane. The album has been released in Europe but is not generally available in North America at this writing.
Elane's ground-breaking first album The Fires Of Glenvore (Kalinkaland Records (Germany) CD 94658-V22, 2004) (review) was followed up by the Love Can't Wait EP. A 19-track, 69+ minute second album incorporating the EP's tracks is entitled Lore of Nen (Distinct Music (Germany) DIS80022, 2006). Elane continued to develop their sound significantly and released a third album, The Silver Falls (Curzweyhl (Germany), 35450942/EAN 402814 3509422, 2008) (review). The album was the band's first collaboration with Kai Meyer.
Elane is fronted by Joran Elane (lead vocals, tin- and low-whistles, harp). The lineup also includes Skaldir (guitars, bass, voice, percussion orchestral arrangements), Nico (keyboards, voice, programming) and Simon (violin, viola, cello). Marina Hasselberg (cello) guests on "My Ivory Fairy" and "Goddess of the Night." All songs are inspired by the works of Kai Meyer (website).
The music of Arcane is inspired by the works of Kai Meyer, a German author that has published almost 50 books since 1993, including best selling Dark Reflections and The Wave Walkers trilogies. Elane's collaboration with Kai Meyer began after meeting in 2006 at a concert. "Kai Meyer’s novels were captivating me since many years. He brings it off to attract his readers always anew with extraordinary characters and unexpected twists. Working with Kai now is a great honor," says keyboard player Nico Steckelberg.
"The many facets of his stories were impressing me from the beginnings! Composing with the inspiration through his books is a complete new approach for us," explains singer Joran. "Kai’s themes go excellent with the atmosphere of Elane-songs. We look forward to the new challenge in composing music to existing stories," says guitarist Skaldir. "By now the progress and creation power during the songwriting is impressive.“ adds Joran.
Kai Meyer says, "I have always been an admirer of music based on a book – already in the 70s with Bo Hanssons album Lord of the Rings. I am very pleased about having Elane – whom I appreciate very much musically as well as personally – making my stories to something special."
Arcane themes are delivered both musically and lyrically. A short atmospheric instrumental entitled "The Gift" opens the album. Joran's powerful vocal passage leads "Heart of the Desert," illustrating her expanded range in this perfect opening number. Production quality is evident in the acoustic guitar, keyboard and percussion arrangements. Listen for the treatment of bass drum throughout the recording. The middle eastern texture of the "Samarkand" instrumental makes it the first track on the album to expand Elane's sound into world music. Joran's powerful and expansive vocalise is especially delightful.
The album's production quality is especially evident in the standout title track "Arcane Ride," drawing on Elane's past, combining folk with progressive arrangements and multi-layered harmonies supporting Joran's lead. Transitions between the passages are smooth and delicately arranged. Album standout "Magdalena" builds on a similar theme blending folk with progressive arrangements. Choir textures support Joran's stunning lead and harmonies in the chorus. Memorable sting-based instrumental breaks contribute to the overall sound.
Arcane includes tracks with English, German and Latin lyrics. "Wasser Und Fels" and Die geheime Melodie are both German-titled folk-style instrumentals with powerful whistle parts, strong string arrangements. "Wasser Und Fels" also showcases Joran's exquisite vocalise. Marina's first cello appearance is on the album's standout "My Ivory Fairy," sung by Joran in both German and English. Delicate strings and percussion perfectly support the verse while rich band arrangements add volume to the chorus.
A low whistle introduction and vocalise lead the mysterious "Abendruf," sung entirely in German. Harmony vocal layers demonstrate Joran's expansive range. The English lyric track "Lurlinnight" builds on the familiar acoustic guitar-based style of the band's last album. It perfectly adjoins "Spinnenhaus," a Celtic-styled string-based instrumental and the rich progressive texture of the Latin lyric "Deae Noctis." Listen here for the rich strings, deep bass drum and a profound guitar solos in the stunning production. Joran's vocalise soars in the background. Concluding this run of tracks is "Dämmertal," a string-based folk instrumental.
"Masken" is the only track sung with Nico's lead. Additional male vocal harmonies contribute to the sung passages atop dark string arrangement. Arcane concludes with stunning track "Goddess of the Night." Joran is backed by her own and other member harmony vocals in a complex collection of duets and powerful instrumental passages. The track blends all that the band have done before with their newest sound in this triumphant conclusion.
Elane have clearly built on their strength and will expand their following with this new project. In collaboration with Kai Meyer,
Arcane has been a highly anticipated album and has been in the making for the past two years. It was most certainly certainly worth the wait. Bravo!
Dream Aria: Fallen Angel
image © Dream Aria 2011
More Dream Aria:
In The Wake (2005)
with exclusive interview and photos
Ann Burstyn (lead vocals)
image © Dream Aria 2011
click on image to visit band's MySpace
.: Fallen Angel :: Tracklist :.
1. Fallen Angel
2. Gypsy Heart
3. Abstract Relations
4. A Tale of Two Wolves
5. The Illusionist
6. Carnival of Souls
8. The Gift
9. Winter Storm
(23 December 2010) New albums from the Canadian progressive band Dream Aria don't come once per year. The band's projects--led by Don Stagg (keyboards), Ann Burstyn (lead vocals) and Garry Flint (drums, producer)--instead, like the finest wine, take some time to mature before the cork is popped and a new album emerges from the Dream Aria team. In early 2011, their steadily increasing worldwide following will be graced with Dream Aria's latest offering, a nine-track (plus a small outro) album entitled Fallen Angel (Dream Aria (Canada), 2011). Our staff was provided with the final tracks for review immediately following the album's mastering.
Dream Aria continue to grow from strength to strength. The new album is a densly arranged project, one that will equally delight instrumental and female vocal enthusiasts. The cover artwork for their new release is equally stunning, isn't it? The last time we saw artwork like this was over 900 reviews ago on Celtic Fire's 2000 album Flames of Eviction (review). The white of the feathers and clouds work contrast so nicely with the flames in both covers.
Dream Aria's first album In The Wake received critical acclaim after release in 2005. The band went on to record contributions to other artists' work before releaseing the masterpiece Transcend in 2008. Since then they have become even more active on the web and have hosted live concerts to expand their footprint of live music played for world audiences. Work on Fallen Angel began in earnest in June when the demo tracks really began to take shape and form the structure of the new album. Like prior Dream Aria albums, the music is diverse. The majority of the tunes are upbeat rockers, each with a different sort of instrumental excursion to better develop the sound of each track. Ann Burstyn's lead and backing vocals are again perfectly mixed with harmonies adding depth to round out the overall texture the band have produced.
The lineup on the album is completed by Dream Aria stalward and Jon Cassleman (bass, acoustic guitar). In addition to Ann, Don, Gary and Jon, the band have incorporated the work of what Don calls the "Guitar All-Stars" who are Mark Crossley (1, 2, 4, 5); Kurt Schefter (4, 5, 9), Tim Welch (1); Mike Phelps (3, 7); Rob Masiokas (8); and Mark McLay (6). See the track list left under Ann's photo. In the album's credits, Don also provided his thanks to Maria Ouspenskaya for inspiration derived from the 1941 movie The Wolfman and to composer Eugene Doga for "Gypsy Songs" from the 1976 film Platoon Goes To Heaven. Although not advertised as a conceptual album, the tracks creatively revolve around a carnival theme.
Fallen Angel is a a tightly produced project. None of the songs are epic, but the 45 minute album includes two extended tracks that are going to be crowd pleasers in the band's live performances. The album's title track is also the rousing opener. Thick guitar work provides the foundation that Ann's lead and harmony vocals powerfully soar over. In the truest progressive style, the song's mid-section features a gentle ballad secton, Ann's lead backed with lush self-harmonies.
"Gypsy Heart" is the first track to clearly reveal the conceptual content of Fallen Angel and serves to illustrate the development of the band's sound in a harder, metal-edged direction. Crisp percussion contributes to powerful arrangements. In addition to keyboard excursions that add texture, Ann's especially dramatic vocal work and layered harmonies are outstanding contributions to the sound. The energy within the album and drama continues to develop in the rapidfire percussive texture in "Abstract Relations."
"Tale of Two Wolves" is a classic progressive rock number with excellently produced temo changes as well as vast keyboard and guitar excursions during the instrumental passages. Ann's solo lead is especially dramatic while harmonies make the overall performance more widely accessible. The album builds contrast initially with "The Illusionist," an album that varies between ballad and rocker. Ann delivers an outstanding solo lead vocal and lovely vocalise in gentle keyboard-led verses and is joined by layers of powerful self-harmonies and rich arrangements in the chorus. Instrumental breaks include both lush keyboard and rich guitar passages. Dramatic arrangements clearly underscore the album's conceptual tones.
The rousing and rhythmic "Carnival of Souls" is one of the centerpieces of Fallen Angel. The power and clarity of Ann's solo lead is perfectly balanced with offsetting guitar solos and second vocal part echoing Ann's powerful lead. Listen for the dense vocalise passage mid-song before the wonderfully produced tempo change. "Healer" is a gentler and warm guitar-laden rock track. The production of Ann's vocal layers is tight and perfectly joined with dense instrumentals and subdued effects.
Percussive instrumentals contribute energy to the upbeat track "The Gift." In addition to her tremendous multi-layering, listen for the range of Ann's vocal work in this powerful rocker. Stunning progressive styled guitar and keyboard solos are featured in the song's instrumental passages. Fallen Angel concludes with the almost-epic "Winter Storm." Effects, vocalise, extended instrumental passages and rich Wakeman-styled keyboards give the track somewhat of a Yes feel. At the beginning of the second half of the track, Ann's lead is crystalline and melodic perfectly delivering the lyrical content. Listen to the carefully arranged interplay of the short vocal with long instrumental passages. Unlike the balance of the album's tracks, "Winter Storm" is primarily an instrumental. The gypsy returns briefly to close the album.
Fallen Angel will be released by Dream Aria during the first quarter of 2011. The artistic development, outstanding production and strong new material will certainly capture the hearts of Dream Aria's worldwide audience and expand their following. Don and Ann have done a tremendous job on this new project and clearly have a lot more music in their future. Bravo!
image © Fiona Ford 2011
image © Fiona Ford 2011
(26 February 2011) Fiona Ford has released her debut solo album, a 12-track project entitled Leave Everything You Know (Independent Release (UK), 2011). Recorded and mastered at West Orange Studio in Lancashire, UK, the jewel boxed album includes a compact disc and a professionally designed 12-page black and white booklet with photography and sleeve design by Contrast Creative.
Readers will recognize Fiona Ford as the last in the series of female vocalists fronting the UK progressive rock band Fula. In fact, Fiona's album came to Musical Discoveries via Fula's first vocalist, Nadine [Plant] Plumtree who has returned to the band in recent years. Nadeen recorded two albums with Fula (Songs From Beyond The Merrygolight and Kissing Trees), preferred studio work to gigging and her role was filled briefly by Janet Galloway.
Zoe Stafford was Fula's next singer. She toured with the band and recorded the Dark Matter album but eventually departed to pursue other interests. Zoe resurfaced a few years later with One Window and City Lights. Josie Bostin joined Fula after Zoe left, toured for a couple of years and recorded The Beautiful, The Delicate and The True with the band before departing to complete her formal education. Fiona Ford replaced Josie and gigged with Fula and worked with Rob Gould for a few years before pursuing her solo career.
Fiona told us, "I've continued to sing on and off with friend Rob Gould and Fula and we've had some fantastic gigs including a performance broadcast live on Radio Caroline from the Ross Revenge ship and also a weekend of performances from inside The Devil's Arse'! (Derbyshire's famous Peak Cavern)." She continued, "I was delighted to appear on Rob's albums China and Wookey, both soundtracks to short films commisioned by underwater and cave photographer Gavin Newman." Both of these albums were recognized by The Classic Rock Society.
The music on Leave Everything You Know is by Fiona Ford and Gerard McDonald. The album was produced and engineered by Alan Gregson. Fiona told us, "Gerard and I have been partners since 2005 and not long after getting
together we strarted to fuse our writing ideas, some of which date back many years." She said, "We realised we had a chemistry for writing together and slowly but surely formed Leave Everything You Know." They are so
proud of the album because it sounds exactly how we'd planned. She said, "We took our time. We have been very fortunate in working with Alan Gregson, who produced the album and, with the great musicians that have played
on the album.
Fiona does all the lead and most of the harmony vocal work and wrote the lyrics. The album's lineup also includes he work of her partner Gerard McDonald (hammond, saxophones, piano, synthesizers, backing vocals) and a lineup consisting of: Alan Gregson (acoustic and electric guitars, percussion, dulcimer), Steve Wren (piano), Jay Irving (drums), Joel Allison (bass), Gary Thistlewaite (bass), John Pettifer (acoustic and electric guitars, banjo), Richard Curran (mandolin, violin, viola) and Steve Wren (fender rhodes). As a showcase for Fiona's vocal work, the album is a great collection of rock, blues and pop-oriented tracks.
The album opens with the upbeat rocker "Get Real" with arrangements that support an excellent introduction of Fiona's smooth lead vocals and stunning harmonies. Tightly produced, the track shows that her lineup has great chops as well. "The Stalker" clearly complements the opening track. "Ode To The Orb" is a gentle piano-based ballad that highlights Fiona's range superbly.
"Fly" is the first of the progressive-oriented tracks on the album. Fiona's powerful vocal stylings and the band's arrangements fit perfectly together. Thick harmonies add a fantastic texture creating a stadium rock sound within the track. "Like" provides an excellent contrast with piano and crisp percussion providing the backdrop for layered vocals to a lovely pop-oriented song. Listen for the superb string arrangement.
"Just A Little Thing We Do" is a very memorable and upbeat rock track. Verse and chorus are well contrasted. The power of the chorus is underscored by the outstanding mid-secton. The almost fully a capella "Don't Throw The Baby With The Bathwater" is a welcome inclusion on this album. The gentlest ballad on the album is "Split Lip." It is sensually sung and delivered superbly. In sharp contrast, the bluesy "Hang Me From That Grapevine" illustrates yet another dimension of the artists' virtuosity. Listen for the extremely strong string parts.
Album standout "Untouchable" is a highly accessible and memorable rock track with stunning vocal layers and rich hammond- and guitar-based arrangements. The vocal harmonies and production are simply exquisite. The upbeat rocker "Danny" highlights the sheer power of Fiona's voice and ability to deliver the lyrics atop raunchy electric guitar and a thick rhythm section.
The stunning and epic title track concludes the album. The atmospheric arrangements contribute a progressive texture that is perfectly complemented by extremely rich vocal harmonies and Fiona's crystalline vocal lead. It certainly left us longing for more and eagerly anticipating another project from Fiona and Gerard.
About the making of the album, Fiona said, "Everyone was so creative and open to the songs. The musicians are all people we have worked with professionally and become friends with." The band hope that the lineup will join them on
tour. They are presently securing festival dates and are open to offers of gigs and representation. Fiona's debut album is a stunning collection of diverse material!
design: Megan Gersch
photo: Erin Russell Photography
image © Test-Drive Songs 2011
Charlotte Martin Reviews:
Piano Trees (2009)
Something Like a DVD Bonus CD (2007)
Spring Tour Reviews (2006)
On Your Shore (2004)
In Parentheses (2003)
Test-Drive Songs (2002)
Charlotte Martin Interviews:
Interview (Something Like A DVD) (2006)
Interview (Stromata) (2006)
Interview (Darkest Hour) (2005)
Interview (Buffalo, Hartford) (2005)
Interview (On Your Shore) (2004)
click for Charlotte Martin's MySpace
photo: Marcus Hewson
image © Test-Drive Songs 2011
(04 February 2011) Singer/songwriter Charlotte Martin once again proves her mettle in her latest release, Dancing on Needles (Test-Drive Records (USA) CMD001, 2011). After overcoming a nerve disorder called Intercostal Neuralgia developed after supporting the weight of her baby son, Ronen, Charlotte put her heart and soul into creating a powerful piano-driven array of songs. This album is an amalgamation of her medical struggles over the past year, and she has constructed poignant reflections of these experiences and delivered an emotional home-run.
Most of the album was written while she was in the throes of her illness. Her opening track, "Any Minute Now," seems to capture the sorrowfulness of her situation with a staccato approach to the music. The crisp piano and vocal delivery set the tone in the tension and build-up of the melody. As always, Charlotte's layered vocals are beautiful. "Volcano" shows her determination "out of this mess" and the music certainly reflects the uncertainties and pain. There is an ethereal quality and eerieness in this piece.
Charlotte's signature forceful piano-driven melody in "Truth Cerium" exhibits strength and humility, as the song discusses trying to remain in control. The driving beat of the title track, "Dancing On Needles," balanced with the swirling discordant tones is masterful. The listener is caught up in the emotional foray and the continuing pulsating beat.
In "Animal," Charlotte said, "I didn't know how to find myself as an artist and a mother at the same time. Now, I do. I never wrote about Ronen until I hurt myself. I hurt myself holding him. "Animal" is about loving him so much that I didn't put him down. I let him lay on my body for a year, and I smashed my nerve. It was hard to write about, but that's what happened. Getting injured as a parent is very common. Ronen kept getting bigger, and I stayed the same size. One day, it just didn't work out. He's wonderful, and I'm in love with him." This sweeping and dramatic song touches the heart, not only with the gorgeous, flowing melody, but with the passionate lyrics.
Simple piano accompaniment creates a gentle atmosphere for "Life Vest." Charlotte's moving and gentle singing crescendo to display her magnificent vocal range. Sentiment is easily stirred in this emotive recognition of endless love for her child. The sweet sounds continue with "Tremble" where again, the chorus propels into a driving force that keeps getting tamed back until the final climactic ending. "Starlight" has an electronic edge and seems to incorporate a steel drum sound. The flowing and exquisite vocals have a wonderful clarity and allure.
There are many discordant piano tones in the gritty "Ready For a Flight." The cacophony of sounds creates the setting for the jarring emotions and struggle of the situation. The music reaches into the darkness and grips the soul. A change of pace follows with her lush ballad, "Complications." Beautifully layered vocals and luscious instrumentals abound in this track. The excitement continues with "Language of God." This percussive-laden song intensifies throughout with an hypnotic beat and keeps climbing to a magnificent ascension.
The album closes with the lilting "Weird Goodbye." Charlotte said, "I could never find a home for "Weird Goodbye. Through the years of being in the music business, you work with about a billion people, and you think they're going to be your best friends for the rest of your life. Then, you never talk to them again. I personally get emotionally invested in people and want these relationships to keep going, and they don't. Through my injury, I lost a couple of close friendships. They were with people who just didn't understand. I wasn't functional, but you couldn't really see it. I could still stand up and talk to you. I guess I would've gotten more understanding from these people if I would've broken my legs and been in the hospital, which by the way, I would've preferred since that heals a little bit better than nerves. However, this song essentially encapsulates that."
No one captures emotion better than Charlotte Martin. This album is the culmination of a year of pain and anguish with an illness that the listener shares in this emotive musical journey. Dancing On Needles tugs at the heartstrings, draws on a range of feelings from gritty determination to touching sentiments.
Charlotte does not fail to please with her
expertise in poetic musicality. This album is truly a standout and a tour de force.--Audrey and Russ Elliot in New York
image © Naosha Records 2011
More Michelle Young:
(biography, interview, photos, reviews)
Song of the Siren (1996)
Marked for Madness (2001)
Rudy's Journey (2001)
Smooth Flight Jazz featuring Michelle Young
photo :: Deming Gray
image © Naosha Records 2011
(11 Feb 2011) Michelle Young is back with an all-new record and an all-new sound. Since her run with Glass Hammer in the early 1990s, Young released two stunning progressive albums: Song of the Siren (1996) and, working closely with Clive Nolan, Marked For Madness (2001). She was known for her allusions to the legendary Kate Bush earlier in her career but her sound has now matured and broadened with stylings that vary across rock, blues, showtunes, classical and in this new release, jazz. Young was named a Musical Discoveries featured artist in 2002. A third solo album with a working title of Three Tales For The Telling is in the making.
Prior to this new record, Michelle sang on Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman's 1999 Jabberwocky (review) and 2002 Hound of the Baskervilles (review) projects. She also appears on Trent Gardner's 1999 Leonardo, The Absolute Man (review) concept album. Michelle also recorded vocals for Rudy Buttas' two solo albums R.U.D.Y.'s Journey (2001) (review) and On My Side (2006).
Smooth Flight Jazz featuring Michelle Young (Naosha Records (USA) 00261 32221, 2011) is an eight track collection of jazz-styled numbers. The album arose from the ensemble in the run up to a recording for a compilation. It was recorded and mastered at Sound Resources by Fred Schendel (Glass Hammer). Michelle Young (vocals) is joined by a lineup of fabulous musicians: Roddy Noll (keyboards), Gordy Nichol (upright bass, steel guitar), Jo Whitaker (drums) and Walter Meyer (upright bass).
The record includes new jazz numbers, two Young originals and a cover tune. Standouts include the stunning ballad "Kiss Me" and fresh new arrangement "My Blues," both Young originals from several years ago that make their debut with new arrangements here. The group's lush jazz cover of the 1967 Burt Bacharach / Hal David classic "The Look of Love," originally sung by Dusty Springfield, is just incredible. Michelle's evocative delivery demonstrates significant artistic growth since her last recordings.
The album's gentle opener "Come Rain or Come Shine" is the perfect introduction to the ensemble's sound, piano providing the foundation for Michelle's crystalline vocals. Crisp piano on "Foggy Day" during the instrumental break works well alongside the well sung and produced lead vocal. Jazz instrumentals on "Simple Life" complement the show
tune vocal styling. The upbeat "Middle of the Road" is highlighted by the power of Michelle's voice and equally by the excursions of the instrumentalists. "Sweet Memories" is a tenderly delivered country styled ballad. The steel guitar provides the perfect foundation for Michelle's soaring vocal part.
Michelle Young's followers will be delighted by the decision to release a new eight-track album by this outstanding ensemble. Vocal work, instrumentals and production contribute to a great sound. The album is more than jazz: there's a pop song cover, lush ballads, a bluesy track and even one with country stylings. Indeed, this record is a compact musical cornucopia fronted by Michelle Young's stunning vocals. Release details will be provided when available.
Autumn Sky (USA Cover Art)
image © Spinefarm Records 2011
exclusive Candice Night interview
.: More Blackmore's Night :.
The Village Lanterne (2007)
Paris Moon (2007)
Winter Carols (2006)
Castles and Dreams (2005)
Live at the Reading Concert Hall (2001)
Interview and Album Review (1997-2005)
Candice Night (lead vocals)
image © Spinefarm Records 2011
Autumn Sky (European Cover)
image © Spinefarm Records 2011
(26 February 2011) The new Blackmore's Night album is a 15-track one hour long collection entitled Autumn Sky (Spinefarm Records (USA), 2011). Since their formation in 1997, Blackmore's Night have released seven studio albums, eight commercial singles, two live DVDs and three compilation albums. The band have demonstrated a consistent evolution and expanded their repertoire beyond Renaissance Faire music into pop, rock and progressive stylings. Read our third Candice Night interview completed in February 2011.
Fronted by multi-instrumentalist and lead vocalist Candice Night, the Blackmore's Night lineup also includes: Ritchie Blackmore (guitars, renaissance drum, nyckelharpa, hurdy gurdy, mandola, mandolin), Bard David of Larchmont (keyboards, backing vocals), Gypsy Rose (violin, harmony vocals), Early Grey of Chimay (bass and rhythm guitar), Squire Malcolm of Lumley (percussion and drums) and Albert Danneman (renaissance woodwinds and vocals). Autumn Sky was produced by Pat Regan who also produced the orchestra scores. The album was mastered by Brad Vance and directed by Ritchie Blackmore. Candice Night contributes penny whistle, gemshorn, rauchpfife, shawms bombards, chanters, recorders as well as backing harmonies to the album.
Listeners will immediately hear two distinct developments on Autumn Sky. First, the arrangements are more robust with additional instrumental parts, especially dense in the more upbeat numbers and generally rockier. This is not to say that the musical diversity from the band's earlier projects has been lost. Instead, the range is broader, denser and deeper. Second, Candice's vocals are more mature; listeners will hear the power, range, emotion and overall savvy that has come from fifteen years of almost constant touring.
Two covers--"Celluloid Hero" originally by the Kinks and "Barbara Allen" that Richie used to sing when at school--are included on Autumn Sky. While the band have covered other artists' work previously, they are most well known for their unique rendition of Renaissance's "Ocean Gypsy" on their debut album. Blackmore's Night have put their own mark on the two new covers, the former being largely gentler than the original and the latter performed most delicately as a folk ballad by Candice atop only gentle acoustic guitar.
The album's opening track "Highland" is a rousing progressive rock track with rich instrumentals and a powerful superbly produced vocal lead. The band's development is clearly demonstrated in their performance.
Blackmore's Night is known for acoustic guitar-based folk music. Autumn Sky indeed has a new collection of these to please former and new enthusiasts alike. As fans will recall, Blackmore's Night toured with Mostly Autumn some years ago. The new tracks would be equally comfortable alongside folker Mostly Autumn tunes equally today. They include the warmly arranged "Vagabond" with extended instrumental passages, the warm ballad "Believe In Me" and whistle-laden instrumental "Journeyman (Vandraen)".
Celtic stylings emerge in the rhythm of "Sake Of The Song," fronted by Candice's crystalline vocal work while the instrumental "Song And Dance" builds on the Celtic rhythm with more robust arrangements. "Night At Eggersberg" is a lovely string-based instrumental. Blackmore's Night's traditional renaissance styling is driven home with string arrangements and vocal harmonies in "All The Fun Of The Fayre."
The rousing "Keeper Of The Flame" is an upbeat progressive number build on electric guitar and powerful vocal passages. Additional guitars and strings add to the rich texture the band deliver on the number. Lighter arrangements make "Strawberry Girl" an accessible folk rock number. Candice's delicately delivered lead vocal is backed with lovely harmonies.
Candice's whistle passages perfectly complement her crystalline voice in the folky track "Darkness." The track is perfectly balanced with "Dance Of The Darkness," a rousing instrumental that follows. A delicate ballad entitled "Health To The Company" precedes the album's concluding track "Barbara Allen."
Blackmore's Night have produced yet another outstanding and diverse collection of tracks to please both long time enthusiasts and new comers. The rich arrangements and
maturity of Candice Night's voice indeed take this album to the forefront of the band's extensive repertoire. Tremendous!
image © Verve Music Group 2010
click on image to visit band's MySpace
image © Verve Music Group 2010
(20 November 2010) Elizabeth and The Catapult is a Brooklyn-based pop/rock trio consisting of musicians Elizabeth Ziman, Dan Molad, and Pete Lalish formed in 2004. The Other Side of Zero (Verve Music Group (USA), 2010) is the third album from Elizabeth Ziman, the singer/songwriter/keyboard player fronting the group and the the second album by the band. The singer's six track EP was released under her name and was titled the name of the band that emerged from the work. The singer has a tremendous voice. Hearfelt ballads and production of layered harmonies in denser tracks contribute to the new album's outstanding sound.
Says Elizabeth speaking about the last two releases, "I'd hope there's humor to both of our albums, but they're actually quite different from one another. She continues, "While Taller Children has the sarcastic lightness of a Woody Allen film, the new record's more in the vein of Kubrick or Lynch. It's a bit darker, a bit more tongue-in-cheek—another side to who we are."
The reason for this shift isn't as simple as a sudden breakup or breakdown. The dissonant strains are lurking between the lines, from the clanging chords and galloping groove of "The Horse and the Missing Cart" to the hopeful but bitter contrasts of "Thank You For Nothing," a heartbroken ballad that channels the Buddhist teachings of an old Leonard Cohen poem.
As it turns out, Elizabeth read Cohen's Book of Longing collection from cover to cover while working on the Lincoln Center song cycle—performed last spring for a commission from NPR's John Schaefer—that gave The Other Side of Zero its title and a handful of tracks. As the pages sunk in, one particular theme stood out: Cohen’s struggle to meet Buddhist goals in a monastery, which Elizabeth felt paralleled her own coming-of-age struggles while living and growing up in New York City.
"Once I finished the book," she says, "I realized that reaching this zen state wasn't a realistic goal. Not for Leonard, and certainly not for me. It’s more about the intent of letting go, and being able to laugh after you fall." Cohen's book also helped Elizabeth see parallels between the pain and growth in relationships and the gestures of balance in Buddhism. Songs about taming the extremes, finding similarities between opposites, and accepting the moment.
While "Thank You For Nothing" sounds pretty self-explanatory, it does more than pull the plug on a flatlining relationship. It exposes the blurry line between gratitude and ingratitude, and how they often feed off of each other. Meanwhile, "The Horse and the Missing Cart" is a cautionary tale about seizing the day; about actually doing things, rather than worrying about whether or not you should act.
Which brings us to why The Other Side of Zero is Elizabeth and The Catapult's rawest set of recordings yet. Unlike their thoroughly-demoed debut—an album that took two years to complete—the Zero sessions boiled down to a month of recording with producer Tony Berg (Peter Gabriel, Phantom Planet, Jesca Hoop) and such respected sidemen as guitarist Blake Mills and Tom Waits' longtime touring keyboardist, Patrick Warren.
The result was rough but refined, bruised but beautiful, as if Berg had placed a mic in a room and walked away, letting Elizabeth and drummer Danny Molad do their thing. Or as Elizabeth puts it, "This record's more abrasive, more blatantly honest—perhaps even rude at times. Maybe intentionally so." Rude isn’t the right word. More like scrappy and spontaneous, with Elizabeth’s film score skills—for a while there, she wanted to be a scene-stealing composer—coloring each song like a Technicolor movie print.
Take "Go Away My Lover," a dagger-drawing duet that brings a couple to its close alongside speaker-smacking drums, demented whistles, and a call-and-response chorus that races to put all of this—the memories, the longing, and ultimately, the regret—to rest. And then there’s the title track. Led by a lean, winding piano line, it builds to a spine-tingling crescendo alongside the honey-dipped harmonies of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings—a collaboration that was completely unplanned. Not that you'd notice, considering how seamless it sounds.
One thing Elizabeth made sure to write down months in advance were her lyrics, which often take months of intensive editing. And even then, it's hard to let them go without poring over every last word. Especially in this case—a highly personal examination of love and loss, and growing older.
"Even the happiest sounding pop songs on this record have a tinge of regret and darkness to them," explains Elizabeth. "And thank goodness for that. Ultimately that’s the only way I’d feel comfortable singing them. I’m drawn to the ambiguity like a menacing smile."
From the opening track "(Time) We All Fall Down" through the closing "Do Not Hang Your Head" we felt strong allusions the artist has to Jennifer Nobel of Grey Eye Glances, a band that has more or less disappeared from the scene after their 2002 studio album A Little Voodoo and 2003 Live album.
Elizabeth and the Catapult's The Other Side of Zero is certain to appeal to a broad audience and is clearly the artist' most ambitious offering thusfar.
image © Jennie Hunter 2010
click on image for Jennie's MySpace
image © Jennie Hunter 2010
(20 November 2010) Jennie Hunter is an American singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles, CA. The artist's debut album, Feel The Fire (Self-released (USA), 2010), is comprised of eleven melodically and harmonically rich songs that prominently feature the piano. There are strong allusions to Tori Amos and weaker references to Kate Bush's work.
The artist's official (www.jenniehunter.com) website is under construction however she has a presence on both Facebook and MySpace. From the artist's Facebook page, "the piano and her uniquly feminine voice unite the otherwise atmospherically different songs that flow through standard rock, electronic and piano-based arrangements. The lyrics explore passion and desire through dreamlike images."
Producer Claudio Valenzuela creates a diverse yet interconnected soundscape where each song's intrinsic style is accentuated and developed. Recorded and mixed in Santiago, Chile, Feel The Fire showcases Chilean musicians Claudio Valenzuela (Lucybell) on guitars, bass and sequences and Cote Foncea (Dracma, Lucybell) on drums. Jennie has previously collaborated with Claudio, providing background vocals on his album Gemini (Accidental Muzik, 2009) and playing keyboards on the subsequent tour.
The producer has done an oustanding job handling Jennie's high, almost child-like, voice and the arrangements, varying between richer Amos-like arrangements and delicate piano ballads. Jennie's songwriting and vocal work are superb across the album's tracks. Album standouts include the opening title track and the very robust and upbeat mid-album "Magda."
The album is balanced between upbeat numbers, piano ballads and electronic rock numbers. "The Way It Was" is one of the album's Amos-style electronically acompanied piano numbers. Jennie's powerful voice glides atop the lovely arrangement. In contrast, "Jinx The Mojave" is more stark, Jennie's voice glistening amongst piano-rich arrangements. Listen for the depth that the producer has put behind voice and piano. "Love Bug" is an upbeat, piano-driven, number with vocal work way up in the mix, lovely arrangements underneath the singer's stunning voice.
"Shell" is stripped right back. Here Jennie's vocals shine above a gentle piano and soft keyboard washes. The piano is richer in "Nothing Wrong." Listen to Jennie's heartfelt vocal work tenderly sung atop the piano delivering the melody in this lovely track. Upbeat electronic arrangements provide the backdrop for "Won't Be Home For Christmas." Despite the depth of the arrangements, Jennie's voice is not overpowered. On the more downtempo "Diabolical," rich arrangements include crisp percussion and a lush bass line. Here the vocalist's prowess is demonstrated with a wide range, clear diction and crystalline delivery.
Like on "Shell" the arrangements for "Fall" are stripped right back to bare piano and the song is wonderfully performed. The album concludes with a final piano and keyboard wash arranged piece called "Wake Of Your Sleep." It is perhaps Jennie's most tenderly delivered song on the album. The keyboard elements provide a lovely warmth to the number.
A download of Jennie Hunter's debut album Feel The Fire is available at amazon.com for a remarkable price of only $5.99. Download the title track from Jennie's FaceBook page.
Jennie's debut is an outstanding singer songwriter project. Production and vocal work are tops. We are sure to hear a lot more from this artist!
image © Electron Love Theory 2010
More Electron Love Theory:
Color Of The Galaxy (2007)
..: Female Vocalists in Running Order :..
Lola Love ("Vertigo")
Allison Bazarko ("I Will Follow")
Jerri Roberts ("Vertigo")
StayC Meyer ("Two Hearts Beat as One")
Sarah Christine ("Walk On")
Trish Shallest ("Bullet the Blue Sky")
Sammy Barrett ("Beautiful Day")
Flora McGill ("New Years Day")
Philana Goodrich ("I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For")
Kelly Ash ("Bad")
Emilia Sosa ("Sunday Bloody Sunday")
Ilen Young ("One")
Leilani Paulson ("With or Without You")
the album's standout track
Brigid Roney ("All I Want is You")
all images © Electron Love Theory 2010
used with permission
(23 October 2010) Blue Sky Vertigo (Electron Love Theory (USA), [digital release] 2010) is the fourteen track follow up album to Electron Theory's Color Of The Galaxy (review) featuring four female vocalists. An earlier version of this album was released as a compact disc bu Electron Love Theory under the name In the Shadows of U2: Electronic Tribute to U2 in May 2009 with a fifteenth bonus track. A few copies of the earlier album are still available through online outlets.
With contributions from fourteen extraordinary female vocalists, Electron Love Theory's latest release is certain to draw interest from our visitors. That the recordings are covers of U2 classics is clearly a bonus. It is the first female vocal compliation to cover a classic rock band since Love Her Madly (2002) which was comprised of nineteen individual female artist interpretations of songs originally written and recorded by The Doors (review). We believe that Blue Sky Vertigo is also the first such album to be cohesively arranged and produced by a single artist.
Jeff Leisawitz, the award winning musician/producer behind Electron Love Theory and Blue Sky Vertigo, has always been a U2 superfan. After watching Bono swing the white flag around at Red Rocks about a hundred times Jeff spent untold hours figuring out the deceptively intricate guitar parts to "Sunday Bloody Sunday" before banging out the killer bass line in "Gloria." These songs were soon performed in Jeff’s infamous high school cover band, Quarter Pound of Ghandi.
Before long Jeff pushed his way up to the stage on the Joshua Tree tour, bought every import remix 12-inch he could find, lined his bedroom walls with U2 posters and wrote some gushing fan mail to the band. Believe it or not, they responded with an autographed black and white promo photo. When Jeff made his way into the professional music press he wrote glowing reviews for pretty much every U2 release and even managed to get a backstage pass to the Zoo TV tour in LA. Unfortunately the band didn't hang around for the meet and greet.
As the ultimate salute to his all time favorite band, Jeff recruited a bevy of fourteen female vocalists and set them to the music of U2. Electron Love Theory's Blue Sky Vertigo is a heartfelt collection that honors the original songs as it pushes into new electronic spaces. Fused with electric and acoustic guitars these recordings range from slamming dance tracks like "Two Hearts Beat as One" or "Vertigo" to quiet downtempo pieces like "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and "One."
About U2. A rock band from Dublin, Ireland, U2 consists of Bono (vocals and guitar), The Edge (guitar, keyboards and vocals), Adam Clayton (bass guitar), and Larry Mullen, Jr. (drums and percussion). The band formed at Mount Temple Comprehensive School in 1976 when the members were teenagers with limited musical proficiency. Within four years, they signed to Island Records and released their debut album Boy.
By the mid-1980s, they had become a top international act. They were more successful as a live act than they were at selling records, until their 1987 album The Joshua Tree, which, according to Rolling Stone, elevated the band's stature "from heroes to superstars."
U2's album Achtung Baby (1991) and the accompanying Zoo TV Tour were a musical and thematic reinvention for the band. Reacting to their own sense of musical stagnation and a late-1980s critical backlash, U2 incorporated dance music and alternative rock influences into their sound and performances, abandoning their earnest image for a more ironic, self-deprecating tone. Similar experimentation continued for the remainder of the 1990s. Since 2000, U2 have pursued a more conventional sound, while maintaining influences from their earlier musical explorations.
U2 have released twelve studio albums and are among the most critically and commercially successful groups in popular music. They have won 22 Grammy Awards, more than any other band, and they have sold more than 150 million records.
In 2005, the band were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility. Rolling Stone magazine ranked U2 at number 22 in its list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time."
Throughout their career, as a band and as individuals, they have campaigned for human rights and philanthropic causes, including Amnesty International, the ONE/DATA campaigns, Product Red, and The Edge's Music Rising.--About U2 courtesy of Wikipedia (accessed October 2010)
Blue Sky Vertigo. The fourteen track tribute was produced, mixed and arranged by Jeff Leisawitz. He also contributes guitars, bass, synth, loop manipulation. Also contributing are: Aaron English (keyboards, ); Moses Gershbein (live beats [5, 6, 9, 13]; Leif Tofusek (guitar , vocals); and Don Gunn (live drum recording and mixing). The album was mastered by Steve Turnidge (Ultraviolet Studios). Guest vocalists include Amber Flame [9, 14]] and Katy Webber . Pictured left, the album's featured vocalists individual contributions follow their names.
Blue Sky Vertigo opens with Lola Love's tremendous rendition of "Vertigo." Pulsing arrangements provide a perfect backdrop for the artist's soaring solo excursions in the verses and layered harmonies in the lush chorus. A certain favorite of this album is the percussive "I Will Follow" sung by Alison Bazarko. Vocally somewhat similar to Caroline Lavelle, the producer has layered harmonies exploring the singer's range in the familiar chorus.
The up beat and powerful arrangements in "All Because of You" are perfectly suited to Jerri Roberts' rocking lead and lush harmony vocals. StayC Meyer signs on the dance-oriented "Two Hearts Beat as One." Her deep and powerful voice perfectly suit the rich arrangements. "Bullet the Blue Sky" is rocking track sung by Trish Shallest. We especially appreciated the vocalise textures against the raunchy electric guitar.
Sammy Barret does a tremendous job with the vocal work on album standout "Beautiful Day." Sparse yet pulsing verses are perfectly complemented by warm, multi-layered choruses. "New Years Day" is produced with a pulsing beat and balanced with powerful and especially well produced vocal work by Flora McGill. "Walk On," sung by Sarah Christine, is another one of the album's standouts. Sarah's voice has the unique ability to be sensual and powerful when delivering the lyrical message in this stunning track.
The U2 classic "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" is sung by Philana Goodrich. Glistening electric guitars provide a rich foundation for the singer's lovely vocal excursions. Kelly Ash sings "Bad" and is reminscent of Balligomingo's stunning Jody Quine in her crystalline delivery. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is nicely delivered by Emilia Sosa. Listen for the crisp percussion in the mix. Most likely the most sensual track on the album, "One" is a downtempo number sung wonderfully by Ilen Young. Again, lush harmonies contribute to the warmth of the chorus.
The album standout is clearly "With or Without You" sung by Leilani Paulson. Rich guitar-based and again pulsing arrangements provide a stunning introduction and excellent backdrop for the singer's crisp, crystalline and powerful delivery. Leilani's power obviates the need for multi-tracking anywhere in this stunning performance. There are, however, very light harmonies in the chorus.
Blue Sky Vertigo concludes with the downtempo "All I Want Is You" sung by Bridgid Roney with Amber Flame. Roney's sensual whispy voice is perfectly suited for the lyrical delivery while Flame's soaring crystalline accompaniment in the chorus produces a richness that complements the guitar and rhythm section.
The new album by Electron Love Theory, U2 Electronic Tribute: Blue Sky Vertigo is a stunning tribute to the hits of U2 produced by) Jeff Leisawitz (guitars, bass, synth, loop manipulation, etc). Leisawiz, a long-time fan of U2 has selected a bevy of stunning female vocalists to cover and provide a unique interpretation of the classics.
The producer has taken a different road for this album than his former efforts. It will be exciting to see where he goes next!
image © Gabi Epstein 2010
(26 February 2010) Art by its very nature is expansive. Just ask Gabi Epstein. A Toronto native, Epstein has been performing for as long as she can remember. An immensely talented actress, Epstein’s love of performing and art simply cannot be contained. And now, with the release of her debut full length album Show Off (Independent Release (Canada), 2010), Epstein is ready to let her honest and soothing voice work wonders on listeners.
Produced by Canadian jazz singer John Alcorn, Show Off features a gifted and able band, including Mark Kieswetter (piano), Artie Roth (bass), and Davide Direnzo (drums, percussion).The band gives weight to Epstein’s voice and vision, making Show Off an album that is buoyant in nature but genuine in its passion. From the bouncy title track, which displays the full range of Epstein’s vocal abilities, to her solemn take on the beauty of "Good Mother," Show Off is ripe with clarity. Throughout her work both onstage and her work performing in cabarets, Epstein has attained a vision that is heard constantly throughout the album.
As well as performing in stage musicals, Gabi began to perform solo cabarets across Toronto and has become known as one of the city's leading young cabaret performers. Having studied Voice at McGill University and completing her Bachelor or Music, Gabi has performed at renowned venues including The Pantages Hotel, Trane Studio, The Toronto Centre for the Arts, and The Algonquin Hotel in New York City. But Epstein decided she needed to take her cabaret career one step further. Her collaboration with Alcorn afinally captured Gabi's cabaret performance on record.
An actor first and foremost, Epstiein's live shows contain an energy that is often difficult to encapsulate. But this isn’t the case on Show Off. Tracks like "Corner Of The Sky" contain an ample warmth while her moving, piano-laden cover of Tom Petty's "I Won’t Back Down" is both joyous and tasteful. Epstein gives credit where it's due, and acknowledges Alcorn’s subtle touches on the record, "He captured me as a cabaret artist. He got the right emotion out of me for all of the songs and allowed me to express myself tastefully."
It's a remarkable thing for an artist like Epstein to have the chance to spread her wings. It's even more remarkable
when you consider the infinite possibilities of the future of Epstein's career as an artist and a performer.--Sarah Wyse in Toronto and Russ Elliot in New York
image © Natali Castillo 2010
.:More Natali Castillo:.
exclusive interview and photos
(21 November 2010) Born in Buenos Airies Argentina, Natali Castillo, now 19 years old, had been one a folk country duet until she decided to branch out to start a career capitalizing on her ability to be a young and sensitive singer / songwriter. She is currently working with her manager and producer in Madrid, Spain.
Natali has a fresh and personal style with a lovely and special voice. The artist, just starting out, has a good bit of growth potential ahead. Her songs speak about her life experiences and her own points of view. She puts things in different places and creates songs in her own deep way. Read more about Natali in our exclusive interview.
The five short tracks on Natali's 14-minute EP, a preview from her forthcoming album From This Side (Self-released (Spain) 2010), clearly shows that she has loved music her whole life. She studied at several private music schools, plays piano, guitar, percussion, and sings. There are stereotypes to compare her to, her sensitive vocalizations are like no one else.
The five folky tracks on From This Side are delicately produced and clearly put Natali's voice right up in front of the gentle piano or other acoustic arrangements. The artist also selected harmonica, cello and light acoustic guitar to accompany her material. The work is still very much in demo stage with various preproduction artifacts yet to be stripped out. Therefore it isis certain to be refined before release on iTunes early next year. We especially enjoyed the multi-tracked harmonies in several of the songs.
On Natali's EP, listen to jazz, Billie Holiday, Chet Baker, and of course listen to folk music, loving CSN&Y, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Nick Drake, artists that helped her make up her mind and inspired this young artist, to become a singer and musician.