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The Staves / yMusic
The Way Is Read
Nonesuch

Visit The Staves at Facebook and iTunes

Visit yMusic at Facebook and iTunes

The Staves are an English folk rock trio of sisters Jessica, Camilla and Emily Staveley-Taylor from Watford, Hertfordshire, England. yMusic is a sextet chamber ensemble from New York City. Consisting of a trumpet, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, and cello, the group was formed in Brooklyn in 2008. The collaborative release “The Way Is Read” might take some extra effort to appreciate, but the album reveals both the musical differences between the two groups as well as the anticipation the music creates by bringing together consonance and dissonance. The perpendicularity of the groups is evident in the first two tracks “Hopeless” (an a cappella track from the sisters) and “Take Me Home” (art music progressivity from yMusic). The collaboration comes together and bares fruit over the remaining ten tracks. The final and title track “The Way Is Read” is unequivocally the highlight; a beautiful recording in which all talent shines through. If you’re really wanting to appreciate the collaboration, one approach is to listen to the two groups on their own. For example, have a listen to The Staves’ “If I Was” and yMusic’s “Beautiful Mechanical” then have a listen to “The Way I Read”. Realizing this might be more effort than you care to invest, go with the collaborative release, but again, be patient and have more than one good listen.


Despite the fact that November is the month where coldness worsens and Christmas fast approaches, we at ECU have been so focused on our quest of discovering and sharing with you the very best of indie film, that we haven’t even picked out a festive jumper to wear, let alone started our letters to Papa Noel. And we do it all (well, partially) for you, our dear followers!

We once again searched the souls of film’s finest with our regular Spotlight feature, this month including profiles on Richard Kelly, Jia Zhangke, Tom Hardy, and Paul Dano, as well as offering some in-depth analysis on the films The Killing of a Secret Deer, Sing Street, and Loving Vincent, all to be found on our cracking blog.

Outside of our Paris office, however, we found ourselves on many adventures, not least having the absolute pleasure of once again attending the Aesthetica Film Festival from the 8th-12th November. We saw a plethora of incredible films, all located in different buildings in the beautiful city of York, England. We had an amazing time there and hope we get the honour of being invited back next year!

From the quaint British North, we found ourselves leapfrogging to the other side of the metaphorical pond as ECU On-The-Road ventured to Celaya, Mexico, to screen some of the best films of last year’s films at the International Film Festival Celayas (FICC) from the 24th-26th of this month. It was truly awe-inspiring to be part of such a haven of filmmakers and enthusiasts and to witness the films we cherish so much being played to, and adored by, a whole new audience. Hasta pronto, Mexico!

One thing, however, that is definitely approaching quicker than our next trip to Mexico (sob sob) is the Early Bird Deadline for film submissions, coming up this month. Sunday 17th December is the final day you can submit for this deadline with 23:59 ETC being the exact minute it ends. Make sure you don’t miss it!

That’s all the updates we have for you for now. If you don’t think you can wait another whole month to hear about our crazy shenanigans, don’t forget to check out our social media pages (click to see our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) for constant (and I mean constant) updates of what we are up to.


Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Voice Training without Sounding “Trained”
by Sally

SXSW® South by Southwest Conference® and Festivals has asked me to present a Sing Like You Speak™ workshop in March 2018! I will have 2 hours to share the brilliance of the Sing Like You Speak™ technique with 100’s (possibly 1000’s) of singers from all over the world.

This is an amazing honor and a dream come true for me. SXSW® is an iconic global music industry event that attracts more the 30,000 people. It embodies the DIY spirit, ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive.

When I first spoke with Bobby Nall of SXSW® last summer, I told him that I love working with DIY musicians. The challenge as a voice teacher is that this population of singers usually waits until they have some form of vocal damage before they seek my help. It is only then that they realize if they are going to have a career as a singer – any chance at all – then they have to have a healthy technique to heal and prevent further damage.

Bobby said with great enthusiasm that I should submit my proposal – that this workshop is perfect for SXSW® DIY musicians.

My mission, my intention for the 2 hours that I have to present to a very large audience of singers, is to give them a few of my most effective tools to keep their voices healthy and strong.

This is the first line of my proposal to SXSW®:

Sing your songs with the same originality and craft as you write without sounding trained.

There is a revolution happening with contemporary singers. It used to be that they thought voice training was 43618459_munnecessary. They would change their minds when they got vocal damage and came to me in a panic.

Now contemporary singers tell me that they do realize that voice training is not only good, it’s absolutely necessary to their vocal health and to their careers.

“But I don’t want to sound trained! I don’t want to sound like an opera singer. I want to sound natural – like me (only better).”

I completely understand, having studied with opera singers for many years, and not getting what I needed as a contemporary singer. That is why I developed Sing Like You Speak™. I needed the same type of training so I could sing freely and easily without sounding affected or “classical.”

Here’s a video from my YouTube channel with some great voice training that will not make you sound “trained.”

Still have questions? Check out my website and get 10 free voice lessons!

Click here for the best voice lessons on the web!


Björk
Utopia
One Little Indian

Visit Bjôrk at Facebook and iTunes

Björk along with co-producer Alejandro Ghersi have released the artist’s tenth album. In contrast to her previous album, “Vulnicura” there is considerable beauty and serenity mixed in with the anguish of life found in the complexity of the overall production; the orchestration of the vocals and instrumentation. There’s no holding back on the time based effects and layering, but the effects are handled masterfully. There is a storyline as the opening track, “Arisen My Senses” starts with the chirping of birds (electro-birds)and segues into a melodious “rising” and “The Gate” is an opening of the heart to love. The utopia projected in the first tracks gives way to reality evident in the ninth track “Sue Me” a musical expression of emotions associated with breaking with her ex. The final tracks “Paradisia” and “Saint” allow us to float toward the final song “Future Forever”; a description of Björk’s utopia. Interestingly, there are no chirping brids, flutes or harps at this point. The vocal and a synthesizer organ leaves us sensing Björk’resilience; she’s been knocked down, but she is now standing stronger than ever.


Deb Googe is best known for her work as bassist for the bands My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream, and most recently, The Thurston Moore Group. She has played keyboards with the massed fuzz organ experimentalists band Pimmel and she has also played drums and she has done backing vocals for Rockhard. In
2014, she joined Thurston Moore for his solo project The Best Day, alongside Steve Shelley, and the UK musician James Sedwards.

HVUM: Thanks for taking time to interview with us. We know that you hail from Yeovil, Somerset, England and it seems that you launched your music career with the Bikini Mutants along with Christine Cole, Dave Goldsworthy and Martin Herring. You were very much part of the west country scene and appeared along with The Mob and The Review. You joined My Bloody Valentine in the mid-1980’s to mid-1990s and the from 2008. In between you played with Katharine Gifford in rock band Snowpony. You teamed up with Thurston Moore in 2014.

Assuming we have the story straight, rewind and tell us a bit about how you came to decide on a music career. What led you to want to play music professionally? Was it part of a very deliberate plan or did you evolve into music and rock?

DG: I’m not sure I’ve ever really evolved and I definitely never had a plan but yes you have got the story more or less straight. I would just add that I played with Primal Scream for the best part of 2012, cause I did and I wouldn’t want to upset them by making them think I’d forgotten them.

Like I said, there was never a plan, I was just into music. As a kid I used to listen to the radio endlessly, pop, glam, that sort of stuff. I never thought about playing music, no one really played music in my family. We did have a little Bontempi organ which was very cute but not particularly useful and my dad had a mandolin, which was beautiful but I don’t remember him playing it that much, mind you he didn’t really have the time, he was working pretty much every waking hour as there were six little Googes to feed.

My first musical involvement was around the age 14 when I was asked to form a little group as part of a project in my music class. There were four of us (Joanne, Karen, Alyce and me), none of us actually had an instrument but Karen had a brother who played guitar, so because of her proximity to an actual instrument she sort of became band leader, she then bestowed various roles on the rest of us. She named herself the guitarist, obviously, and I was told I was the bassist. I didn’t actually have a bass or much of an idea of what a bass player did but I knew that was Suzi Quatro was a bass player and a women and she looked cool, so I was very happy with my new position.

Unsurprisingly that band never did anything but it did evolve into a band that did actually play a couple ‘gigs’. We were bloody awful, we had no drummer, no musical skills, no idea what so ever. We played covers somehow managing to shoehorn the same three chords into anything from Leader of the Pack to Smoke on the Water. Looking back it must have been totally bizarre for anyone unfortunate enough to have actually seen us, we would definitely have given the Shagg’s a run for their money.

But then, fortunately for me punk happened and that just totally shifted the goalposts. Suddenly it wasn’t about musicianship so much as attitude and as a 15 year musical illiterate you can imagine that was very appealing. So I adopted anarchy, concentrated on one string instead of pretending to play four and that was it really. Things haven’t really evolved too much since then but for some reason I’m still getting away with it.

HVUM: Thanks for the correction on Primal Scream. Your career really took root during a period when there was a revolt against establishment or mainstream rock of the time leading to hard edged and stripped-down instrumentation, and in fact, that period gave rise to what we know today as a D.I.Y. Reflecting, where was your musical head in (say) 1980 and where are you today? We’re interested in knowing about your musical mindset.

DG: Yes you’re right, in the late 70’s/ early 80s I was very involved in the anarco punk scene. Starting when I was a teenager in Somerset, we would put on gigs and we had a fanzine and eventually a record label called All the Madmen. The hub of our little world was the garage/shed at my friend Gem’s parent’s house (she was the original guitarist with Bikini Mutants…you missed her!). It was totally DIY and actually a very creative and productive space and time. And like a lot of things that happen at that stage in your life, mid/late teens, it sort of informs and shapes you for the rest of your life. I’m still friends with a lot of people from that era and I still hold a lot of those beliefs.

Having been involved with major labels over the years I appreciate that not everybody associated that side of the business is evil, in the way that I thought they were when I was a kid, there’s some great people and of course there’s a lot of really amazing music released and developed on major labels but I still think there’s a lot to be said for the DIY/indepent scene, whatever you want to call it.

The internet has had such a phenomenal effect on the world and of course the music industry has been as effected as everything else by it, maybe more. These days we really are able to release music completely independently. The last MBV record was released not only without a major label but without any major distribution or major streaming services (iTunes/ Spotify ect) involved. I think it’s great that you can do that. I’m not saying it’s the only way or the best way but it a great option to have.

Really though, how the music is released or whether is does or doesn’t get released is just one part of the story. The main thing that came out of the punk era for me and the thing that is still very important is the attitude to the music itself. And I think that the bands I been involved with, regardless of their relationship to major labels have always been very uncompromising when it comes to the music and that to me is the most important thing.

HVUM: Two questions…. There is a very impressive line of female bassists and there are flashy bassists and solid traditional bassists like Carol Kaye (interviewed by HorizonVU in 2014). What draws you to the bass? What makes for a great bassist?

DG: As I said before I was kind of told to play bass by Karen but I am very happy that she did because I love the bass and I think it suits my personality. I’m not the most delicate person and I’m incredibly, almost comically clumsy, so I think the physicality of the bass suits me.

I don’t think there’s any one thing that makes one bass player better than the other, like all musicians it’s more important that you suit the band you are playing with. MBV would sound completely different if they had a really super busy bass player, and to be honest I don’t think they would be the MBV bass player very long.

Personally I prefer what I suppose would be considered unfussy, more riffy style bass playing or melodic stuff over really technically flashy playing. I love Carol Kaye who you just mentioned, I think she’s an absolute amazing she never overplays and what she does play always feels like a really integral part of the song. I guess I’m not particularly fond of really busy bass playing but I totally appreciate it is technically very good and I can see why it suits some kind of music but it’s just not really my thing, but that’s just my ignorance, it doesn’t mean that they’re not great players.

HVUM: Thinking about The Thurston Moore Group, you all have ties to what we (for better or worse) like to call “alternative” or “experimental”. Apart from individual lineages you, Steve, James and Thurston have taken parts in scrapping pigeonholed views of rock, experimenting with rhythm, dissonance, instrumentation, noise and electronics. What is first and foremost in the collaboration?

DG: First and foremost are the songs, and that is the same with all the bands I’ve played with.
Thurston is definitely more open to improvisation, especially live but the starting point is always the song and they are very much formed in Thurston’s head first, so not really a collaboration.

Thurston likes to work very fast so most of the recordings on the albums are only the third / fourth time we’ve played through the song as a band. Sometimes we have been introduced to the idea during a soundchecks on tour but often he introduces stuff in the studio just before we record it. And he’s fairly relaxed with his directions, he might just say something like hold back in that bit or push that a bit more, that kind of thing.

Live though is different, lots of the songs have room to expand when we play them live and those change every night but I never think before hand: ‘I’m going to play this or do that during that bit tonight,’ because there’s three other people up there and you have to listen to what they are doing too, so in that respect there’s never anything that’s more important, you just try and make it sound like you’re all on the same journey.

HVUM: Let’s have a look and listen to The Thurston Moore Group playing earlier this year in Helsinki.

HVUM: Looking over your musical track record, are there any very special moments that you consider to be a career highpoint, the kind of memory that can keep you going on in the toughest of times?

DG: No there’s no one particular highpoint. The whole thing kind of amazes me. I’m constantly surprised I’ve got away with it this long. I am very aware that there are a lot of musicians who are technically much better than I am who never make it past the bedroom. I have been very lucky, I’ve managed to survive doing something that I love and I’ve worked with some amazing and really lovely people so I think the whole thing’s been pretty special.

HVUM: It seems that we’ve come to a point in the recorded music business where heavy use of audio processing effects, multitracking, pitch correction and quantization have become commonplace. Where do you draw a line between experimentation or innovation and mechanically minded studio manipulation?

DG:I don’t think you should draw the line. There’s lots of very experimental music created by using those effects, there’s also a lot of very, to my mind, bland music but I think there’s room for everything, just cause I don’t personally like something I don’t think that make it any less valid. Besides l do love a lot of pop music, as much as I love experimental music, I always have.

I grew up listening to all that Chinn and Chapman stuff that came out in the early 70’s, they produced loads of great pop records: The Sweet, and Suzi Quotro of course. Mike Chapman went on to produced Parallel Lines by Blondie. I’m sure they used everything at their disposal to make great pop records and they were very successful at it. Technology has moved on a lot since then but I’m sure they would still use whatever they could if they thought it would make a better record today. I don’t see anything wrong in it at all.

I don’t think you should really judge pop against experimental music, they’re coming from different places and aiming for different end results. I actually don’t think one is more valid than the other. I guess the real difference is the machinery/business involved in selling to the public.

People can get very tied up on whether something is ‘genuine’ or ‘authentic’, the minute you record something it is processed and manipulated, I guess the thing is some artist have more say in how their music takes form but does that means the music is any more real? It’s still music, whether it’s just someone singing in the bedroom, or a totally manufactured multi million selling record. It still means something to someone, validating something by ‘nicheness’ is just as silly as validating something by the number of sales…. Ha ha, as you can see I’d never make a good business person.

HVUM: On a very personal level, what are the social issues that you care about the most? Are you a social advocate?

DG: I guess being a gay woman immediately brings up two issues that are very personal to me and I think gay rights and gender politics have arguably been the most important issues in the western world over the past decade.

But really I think they are part of a bigger issue, which is equality. I genuinely believe that most people are good and that if you treat people as equals, regardless of gender, sexual preference, the colour of their skin, their theological or spiritual beliefs or whatever. If you give people respect and kindness and understanding you will generally get that in return. And if you don’t and you are treated unfairly or contemptuously based on any of those things then you should shout out the perpetrator as the bigoted, half wit, shit-head, ignoramus, dotard (please feel free to add anything you like in here) that they are. That’s basically what I think.

HVUM: Great, we’re on the same page. Last, what’s ahead for Deb Googe? Any projects in the works or on the horizon?

DG: Yes, I’m currently in the middle of a European tour with Thurston, so my immediate plan is to finish that. Then I have a tour in the States with Thurston next February and there’s talk of a few other projects for next year. And there’s also very likely to be some MBV action next year, so all in all I think it should be a pretty interesting year.

Deb, thanks so much for your time and your very thoughtful answers to all of our questions. Your honesty and openness are appreciated. We hope to see you back in Paris with Thurston Moore, or maybe you’ll be with MBV! Either way, it will be awesome. In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming holiday season and take care. Sending you all our best wishes.


Sia
Everyday Is Christmas
Atlantic

Visit Sia at Facebook and iTunes

Seeing as though it’s Thanksgiving week in the U.S., it seems only right to kick of the holiday season with a Christmas album. Sia, the accomplished Australian singer-songwriter, music video director and record producer, has teamed up with producer Greg Kurstin to release “Everyday Is Christmas”. The ten-track album is composed entirely of originals, and while it’s not up to the high standard set by previous works such as “1000 Forms of Fear” or “This Is Acting”, it’s full of holiday including the jingle bells ringing out in “Candy Cane Lane” and “Snowman”, a poesy to a melting lover. And there’s “Puppies Are Forever” with puppy barks in the mix. Again, it’s not Sia’s best album, but like all of her work, it’s distinctive. So, come on and get into the mood. Add snap to your holiday collection and include “Everyday Is Christmas” along with the likes of “Elvis’ Christmas Album”, Johnny Mathis’ “Merry Christmas” and Barbra Streisand’s “A Christmas Album”. Ho-Ho-Ho.


Tennis
We Can Die Happy
Mutually Detrimental

Visit Tennis at Facebook and iTunes

This indie pop duo comprising husband and wife Patrick Riley (guitar, keyboards, production) and Alaina Moore (vocals, keyboards) have release “We Can Die Happy”, a five-track EP. This work follows closely on the heels of the year’s earlier album release “Yours Conditionally”. While the album is worthy of attention, there’s reason to show favor for the EP. It’s technically a bit better than the album and the songs have an edge with their very upbeat mood as in the pop “Born to be Needed” or the danceable “Diamond Rings”. This Pick of the Week is sure to make you feel good and put a smile on your face.


Sequoyah Tiger
Parabolabandit
Morr Music

Visit Sequoyah Tiger at Facebook and iTunes

Leila Gharib’s release features off-centered electro-pop. Her unconventional or idiosyncratic songs are melodious and sometimes dreamy or other-worldly. But the music tracks are really only part of the story. Gharib is a gifted performance artist and her self-directed videos are very much a part of the Sequoyah Tiger tableau in the sense that she really does put forth an artistic grouping of audio and visual arts. If you’re wanting to indulge or give yourself up to the avante guarde then you do not want to miss out on this release. Don’t overlook the videos as part of the artist’s creative exhibition.


Elizabeth Ziman, who performs as Elizabeth and the Catapult, is a critically acclaimed singer/songwriter from New York, living and working in Brooklyn. She’s toured​ with the likes of Sara Bareilles​ and Sara Bareilles; collaborated with Esperanza Spalding, Gillian Welch, Blake Mills​ and ​Ben Folds; scored, with Paul Brill, a variety of international award-winning documentaries including Trapped, a Peabody winner; and won the 2015 Independent Music Award for Songwriting, Folk category. Her songs have been featured in national television campaigns for Google, Amazon, Sky TV, and “​So You Think You Can Dance”​. In 2014, “Like it Never Happened” her third studio album was released by 30 tigers and produced by Dan Molad, Peter Lalish and Paul Loren with string arrangements by Rob Moose. In 2015 “Like it Never happened” was nominated for best album, best song, and best video by The 14th Annual Independent Music Awards and “Someday Soon” won the award in the “Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song” category. In October, “Keepsake” was released and was HorizonVU Music’s pick of the week

HVUM: Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us! We feel like we know quite a bit about your musical history from the time of your growing up in Greenwich Village, your training as a classical pianist, and your connection with Patti Austin and other prominent musicians. We understand that Elizabeth & the Catapult came into existence in 2004, and included Danny Molad on drums and Danny Molad on guitar.

Would you fill out the history a bit? Tell us about how Elizabeth & the Catapult came to be. Was the project conceived with a special identity and sonic signature in mind?

EZ: I started writing songs throughout college and when I left school, I moved to new york with some other college buddies and we started recording our first self titled EP at home. A year or two later it caught the attention of Verve Records, and we made our first album “Taller Children”.

HVUM: “Keepsake” is your fourth album following after “Taller Children” (2009), “The Other Side of Zero” (2010) and “Like It Never Happened (2014). Is there a continuity to your music over time? Is there a thread that we can follow from your training at the Berklee College of Music through to today?

EZ: I went to Berklee College of Music for composition and film scoring, so I feel like the main thread across all of my albums is that my ear usually leans towards more cinematic arrangements, sometimes the flourishes give it a bit of a theatrical flare and I have to hold myself back, but in general I’m drawn to layers and wide variety of instrumentals.

HVUM: Thinking back over your musical training and your success at bringing together multiple genres including pop and jazz, who do you consider to be your key influencers? Did you have a certain mentor who played an exceptional role in setting out your musical roadmap?

EZ: when I was very young I was a member of the New York City Young People’s Choir which was run by a brilliant composer and teacher named Francisco Nunez who recently won the MacArthur award for his compositions. By the time I was 10 years old we were competing professionally, and I was singing solos in carnegie hall. I left the chorus by the time I was 12, and I wouldn’t make it back to playing Carnegie Hall until another 15 years later with my band. Both the experiences and Francisco’s unusual classical writing style most definitely had an influence on who I am today.

HVUM: Many of our young readers are setting out in music and frequently ask about the advantages and disadvantages of D.Y. I. vs pursuit of a label. Or maybe there is something in the middle such as what John Kellogg at Berklee refers to as Doing It With Others? What is your point of view?

EZ: As is obvious, the music business over the last five years is in a very precarious position compared to the way things have worked over the last 70 years. Yes, labels shut down, people stopped buying cd’s, and everything became virtually free through digital downloads and streams- but the music business always finds a way so even super popular successful artists decided to break away from labels, start their own, and start getting involved in Kickstarter campaigns. I myself raised money for the last two albums on pledge music, and even though I’m not signed to compass, the whole album was funded by my fans. That’s a very lucky thing- and is becoming more commonplace everyday.

HVUM: With respect to “Keepsake”, You’ve stated that the lyrical ideas came to you from lucid dreams. Would you elaborate on that a bit and relate your dream experience(s) to one of the album’s standout tracks “Underwater”?

EZ: Ha. Yes, I had a terrible flu a couple winters ago when I was moving into a new house and started having fever dreams, so as my dreams got stranger I began writing everything down for posterity. There were a lot of nostalgic dreams, and I coupled those with old diary entrees I found when moving- it was as if I was filling in my life backwards through my dreams. And with that was the birth of “Keepsake”.

HVUM: Let’s take time out for a look and listen to “Underwater”, the second track on “Keepsake”.

HVUM: You give attribution for the video to Meredith Adelaide. Tell us about that collaboration and connecting the composition and lyrics to the video production?

EZ: Meredith is incredibly talented, I feel so lucky to have found her. She’s somewhat of an Instagram sensation, so I found her self-portraits online and just fell in love with her photography. Her style is incredibly raw, and somehow both vulnerable and strong at the same time- just super honest. She did a great job of capturing the chaos and joy that is New York City! It was a delight to shoot with her.

HVUM: Imagine that Elizabeth Ziman is a book. What would be the title? Why?

EZ: well my intials are EZ, so maybe “EZ DOES IT” ?

HVUM: Finally, what is on the horizon for you and your work? Any tours ahead?

EZ: Hopefully tons and tons of touring this year! We’re going to Nashville this month, an east coast run in December and then hopefully out to the west coast in January. There will be plenty of running around ahead!

Elizabeth, thanks again for interviewing with us. We wish you continued success and we hope to see you in Paris very soon!

Visit Elizabeth & the Catapult at Facebook and iTunes


Emily Zuzik
Tender

Visit Emily Zuzik at Facebook and iTunes

Emily Zuzik first appeared on HorizonVU’s pages in 2011. We’ve been privileged to follow her work since then – The Wild Joys of Living (2011), Detours (2014) and Angelenos (2016). She consistently shows her willingness to cut across all kinds of music including folk, pop, electronica and pop-rock. Amongst her many projects she has collaborated with notables including Moby (Destroyed, 2011) and Tim Lefebvre (Angelenos, 2016).

Emily’s most recent release, “Tender” is a three track collaboration with Geoff Pearlman (recognized composer, singer, guitarist, producer and engineer). The title track is a soulful song, which is on the lighter, pop side of soul. The vocal works well in the mix from Geoff Pearlman (lead guitars, bass, autoharp), Michael Blumstein (keys), Alex Budman (horns) and George Sluppick (drums). The second track, “Ernst Kirchner” (German expressionist painter and printmaker known to be motivated by fears about humanity’s place in the modern world, its lost feelings of spirituality and authenticity) draws somewhat on sensual Teutonism for the vocal, but the blend of Zuzik’s vocals with Gerald Menke’s pedal steel and Tim Lefebvre’s bass gives the song it’s own place. The final song, “Winter In California” is up tempo contemporary country pop-rock, which will likely get you tapping your feet. “Tender” offers three very different recordings each of which is exceptionally performed. In addition to the recorded performances, clearly, Pearlman deserves a thumbs up for mixing and mastering. In part because of its diversity, this is a recording that you can shuffle the tracks on repeat and stay well-connected. Enjoy!


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