“I set out to make a record that was going to make people happy, and that’s hopefully what it will accomplish!”
Deni Bonet, a brilliant artist from the world of notable side-musicians, having been a strong fixture in the house band for the great NPR show Mountain Stage, and worked with incredible people like Robyn Hitchcock and R.E.M. among various others, has herself transformed into a singer-songwriter-violinist that gives a sort of folk-pop blend that invokes “Natalie McMaster meets Belinda Carlisle”. Deni has since delivered a series of her own records, her latest being a CD titled It’s All Good, and she’s putting on a CD-release party on Friday, February 15th at 7:30 PM at 92nd Street Y Tribeca in NYC. Click up here for info/tickets or on the bottom.
I have to say that I loved this chat, even though I feel like it was more of a chat/hangout than an interview. Albeit through the magic of Skype, Deni showed me around her place and I was treated to both musical and meowing throw pillows, hilarious anecdotes, great jokes and a grand tour of the music studio within her apartment. It was the kind of experience that I wish I could share through transcription. I suggest that if you get into Deni’s music, you’ll get some sort of sense of that! She really is a funny, sweet, eclectic gal, and a superb fiddler/songwriter on top of this!
Plus she seems to have a thing for the color blue… Continue reading
Lisa Germano (wow, more than a singer-songwriter, she plays a variety of instruments as you well may know) is releasing a new album titled No Elephants in February of next year, and having heard it, I am blown away by her music yet again. Taking the path to a very self-made musical place has really taken her seemingly so far apart from the days when she was mostly playing sideman to John Mellencamp and appearing with artists like Billy Joel, Simple Minds, etc. Her efforts as a musician showed a person of prowess, but her music revealed much more complex pictures and a vulnerability that couldn’t always be fully expressed by a full rock band.
She had a few minutes to speak with me about some of this.
CM: I had a chance to hear the new CD No Elephants–For me, It is very hard to describe your music, even ever since your first album! I really enjoy it, and this new one is already a classic (My favorite tracks so far are “A Feast” and “Strange Bird”). It’s interesting for its brevity at 35 mins. and it leaves one wanting more. The thing that catches me a good deal of the time is your use of non-musical things and making them musical, and here the most obvious thing is the cell-phone interference static noise on a few of the songs. Can you talk about this and where you came up with this idea?
Lisa: On my new record No Elphants, I wanted to convey my confusion and frustration relating to people on cell phones, our abuse of communication and how this affects our relationship to the earth and its beings. So many people on their cells or computers. Not communicating is sad to me, so Jamie Candiloro and I found all sorts of sounds relating to this and added them into many parts of the record sometimes to me funny in a tragic sort of way. The communication with the animal sounds, cell and computer sounds dancing together is the point here..
Jamie is awesome–always finds what I’m hearing. Continue reading
I have to say that what I like about Matt Siffert’s EP Morningside right off the bat is that he gives you two straightforward tunes and then an instrumental that sounds like a music cue piece from the Rocky soundtrack–The piece I’m thinking of there is “Philadelphia Morning”, but this is “Daybreak in Alabama”, so, I don’t know if that’s a coincidence, but it’s like Matt Siffert read my mind and knew exactly what that piece would remind me of, and he instinctively knew my taste as well. Get out of my head, Matt Siffert!
“I Think of You Less” has a riff that recalls Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man” with its honky-tonk stagger. “Riverside Drive” and “She’s so Enthusiastic” seem to be much more in tandem with a sort of Billy Joel or Ben Folds if those guys were living in Williamsburg. Very good rock-pop chamber arrangements with a sweet cello and mournful French horn.
This being his debut EP, I look forward to Matt’s full albums.
Click here to buy/stream Matt’s EP Morningside
Photo courtesy of James M. Graham
Debbie Chou (I believe it’s pronounced “chō”) is a wonderful singer-songwriter in the New York area that is both a solo artist and is also the featured keyboard player in The Barrens. While that band has a much louder sound, the softer-but-still-edgy side of Debbie can be found on her fine solo album titled Lovebug (ACME and Newspeak’s violinist Caleb Burhans, btw, makes a special appearance on this recording). Check the CD out here or on the link on the bottom. Debbie also loves cats, and I really should have asked her to let me see the cats while we were in conference because I could hear them meowing in the background. You’ll also find out here that Debbie herself is an avid meower.
Debbie had some time to talk via skype.
CM: Who was your biggest influence for your songwriting?
Debbie: I was very inspired by Rufus Wainwright and his album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. I went to see him play at Prospect Park a couple of years ago, and it was just amazing! From that, I just started to write a lot of piano-based music. Continue reading
Mikaela Davis performing “Garden” live at The Bug Jar, Rochester, NY 9/23/11
Mikaela Davis (bandcamp page)
Rochester, that town in Upstate, NY that gave us Julia Nunes, has blessed us with another great artist – harpist-singer-songwriter Mikaela Davis.
Davis performs, and continues to study the harp at Potsdam working on classical pieces while she isn’t writing songs. She made her debut CD with the aid of the crowd-funder Kickstarter, and released it earlier this year. The CD, by the way, is highly-recommended. You can hear the work of a precision-based study environment in the sound of her playing on these tracks, and her voice is nothing to sneeze at either. Click to buy it here or on the bottom.
CM: You’re from Rochester, NY–Is there something in the air or the water in that part of New York that there are three really gifted singer-songwriters (you, Julia Nunes and Lauren O’Connell) coming from this area?
Mikaela: Something is definitely in the water! The music scene is growing — there’s Joywave, The Demos, The Absolutes, Josh Netsky, Sports, Walri, Harmonica Lewinski etc. All incredible musicians. The art scene is growing as well. Continue reading
Julia Nunes, a young lady who has become an internet sensation through the use of technology and YouTube has become a great musical fixture not only in that world, but in the indie music one, and after having passed through a few cool portals in the media (including NPR, Conan, SXSW and Bonaroo) now gets to do an interview with The Glass! How incredible that is for her (I would hope, perhaps someday! Actually, it is for me)!
As a person, Nunes is somebody that reminds me of a big sister, or that tomboyish friend we had in school that looked out for us and stood up to the bullies, and in essence, sometimes we still need a big sister or a tomboyish friend to look out for us in our lives. Even if she really isn’t that person, she completely assumes that role very fittingly for her own profile in the otherwise harsh music climate.
As an artist, her videos are some of the most fabulously handmade music clips this side of Pomplamoose. There are about a hundred of these videos, and she has done, along with her originals, some quite humbly-rendered cover songs (Sadly, I could not use all of them for the interview, but please check out her YouTube page to see them all). As far as her music-only output goes, it is all really good, quirky acoustic music on 4 CDs, and her latest titled Settle Down has 18 tunes, including 6 she recut from earlier records.
Julia stopped her routine for a bit to chat with me via Skype. Continue reading