Category Archives: Singer-Songwriter

Kelly Flint bringing ‘lots of new songs’ to Rye on Thursday

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Kelly Flint, who once was the voice of the New York City-based postmodern lounge group Dave’s True Story, is performing her own music in a show in Rye  on Thursday.

She’ll be one of a trio of singer-songwriters taking performing as on a Rye Arts Center Live! Coffeehouse bill at Le Pain Quotidien.

2439965Paul Sforza and George Kilby Jr. will also perform.

Flint, a Scarsdale resident, will be joined on the upright bass by fomer DTS bandmate Jeff Eyrich, who promises Flint will be performing “lots of new songs.”

Flint started performing her own folk-inflected songs in earnest after DTS broke up in 2007, though she was writing songs long before she started singing bandmate Dave Cantor‘s jazzy songs in DTS beginning in the mid 1990s.

Catch up with  what Kelly’s been doing lately by reading the interview she did with me 14 months ago for The Journal News/lohud.com.

IF YOU GO

What: Kelly Flint. Paul Sforza, and George Kilby Jr. in performance

Where: Rye Arts Center Live! Coffeehouse at Le Pain Quotidien, 30 Purchase Street, Rye, New York

When:  7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26 (Doors at 6 p.m.)

Tickets: $10 in advance (GO HERE to buy online), $12 at the door.

 

 

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Big day coming for Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O'Connor

Jennifer O’Connor

Jennifer O’Connor, the singer-songwriter and proprietor of The Kiam Records Shop in Nyack, New York, has a spectacular new album, “Surface Noise,” coming out next Friday, March 4.

That’s the same day she makes her debut at the Tarrytown Music Hall as she enters the home stretch of her tour with bad-ass indie singer-songwriter Neko Case.

I wrote about O’Connor’s album early in February, calling it “the best new album I’ve heard so far” this year. A month — and many other new albums — later and my feelings haven’t changed. It’s a great album that shows off an artist who has grown and developed a richer, more nuanced sound.

O’Connor hits Tarrytown with Case at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4. A few tickets remain in the side orchestra sections at $48, and about 100 balcony tickets are still available at $38. Go here to get your tickets online. It’s a great way to give O’Connor a nice Lower Hudson Valley welcome-home, and to experience a great show. (If you can’t make it to Tarrytown, you have a chance to check out O’Connor’s full set during her official record-release show at Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge on Monday, March 7, with wife Amy Bezunartea opening. Doors are at 6:30 p.m. Go here for tickets, which are $12 in advance.)

Christopher Vaughan of The Journal News/lohud.com, sat down with O’Connor recently to talk about her big day. Go here to read his interview.

 

 

TONIGHT: Check out Kelly Flint opening for Jane Siberry in Beacon

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If you can get to the Towne Crier Café in Beacon tonight, your in for a double-barreled blast of great music.

Jane Siberry, the headliner, has been making her idiosyncratic music for three decades. She’s a consummate performer whose songs are quirky and full of surprises.

Kelly Flint hasn’t been on the scene as long as Siberry, but she’s got quite a bit of performing under her belt, too — along with a ton of great, folky, self-penned tunes and that tremendous voice.

kelly flint - drive all nightFlint was the lead singer of the popular New York lounge noir band Dave’s True Story from 1992 to 2007, making waves in indie music circles with her vocal interpretations of Dave Cantor’s quirky, jazzy tunes with his smart, idiosyncratic lyrics.

In recent years, Flint has been writing her own songs and performing sporadically under her own name — just her and her guitar, sometimes with ex-husband and former DTS bandmate Jeff Eyrich supporting her on bass.

The Westchester County woman has been regularly headlining shows with her singer-songwriter material at the Bronxville Women’s Club. Opening for Siberry tonight will expose Flint to a new audience and could open the door to more shows.

Flint, who’s a longtime pal, spoke to me in November about her career and her life raising her son, Ben. Check out that conversation, published by The Journal News/lohud.com, here.

Be sure to get to Beacon and check out what she’s up to. If you remember her from DTS, you won’t be disappointed. If you didn’t follow her back then, be sure to arrive early to give her a listen — you’re in for a real treat.

IF YOU GO

What: Kelly Flint, opening for Jane Siberry

When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4.

Where: Towne Crier Café, 379 Main Street, Beacon, NY 12508 MAP

Tickets: $25. Go here to reserve online or call 845-855-1300.

 

‘Surface Noise’: A self-effacing title for Jennifer O’Connor’s brilliant new album

The cover of Jennifer O'Connor's album "Surface Noise" (March 4, 2016, Kiam Records) features an ambitious abstract painting, "There 48," by Brooklyn artist Joan LeMay.

The cover of Jennifer O’Connor’s album “Surface Noise” (March 4, 2016, Kiam Records) features an ambitious abstract painting, “There 48,” by Brooklyn artist Joan LeMay.

I’ve never been one to make best-of lists when it comes to music. I enjoy so much of what I hear that it’s difficult to pick favorites.

So I won’t say that Jennifer O’Connor‘s forthcoming album, “Surface Noise,” out March 4, 2016, on Kiam Records, is a sure-fire pick for my best of 2016 list, since I’m not likely to compile one.

I can say it’s the best new album I’ve heard so far in this still-young year — and I fully expect to feel that way about it when this year is winding down.

“Surface Noise” is packed with 12 songs that explore love, loss, and the challenges of life with a casual brilliance about this album that makes it the best work this talented artist has produced so far.

ORDER JENNIFER O’CONNOR’S “SURFACE NOISE” VIA KIAM RECORDS NOW — GO HERE

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Late discovery: Robert Earl Keen revisits his past by going where he’s never been before

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Listening to Texas singer-songwriter icon Robert Earl Keen‘s new collection of bluegrass, “Happy Prisoner,” for the first time can be a bit of a shock — in a good way.

I know, it was released 10 months ago, but I avoided listening to it. I guess I feared it would feature more of the frat-boy, Shiner Bock-swilling tomfoolery that has defined much of his career.

Truth be told, I fell in love with Keen’s broken-down-sounding voice and folksy sensibility in 1984, when he (with “Jr.” appended to his name in those early days, though it’s hard to imagine anyone would have confused him with his geologist father) released “No Kinda Dancer” on Rounder Records. It was a nearly perfect document of one of that era’s freshest new singer-songwriter voices.

He quickly moved from the one guy, one guitar sound to a the bigger, boisterous sound he’s known for today. And, while I liked the persona much less, I continued to follow his music and went to his shows from time to time. Despite his over-the-top fans — I witnessed one of Barbara Bush’s troublemaking friends get expertly cut from the herd at an REK show at  the Bowery Ballroom in 2001 — I have to admit I still love that voice and sensibility.

“Happy Prisoner” may be Keen’s first, and probably only, dalliance on record with bluegrass. But I’ve got to say that it feels like it has far more in common with the singer-songwriter he started out being than it does with the Texas icon he’s become.

Tradition sounds good on him.

His take isn’t one of hidebound traditionalism, though, on any of the tracks. Keen — with a little help from his Texas A&M pal and onetime roommate Lyle Lovett and Natalie Maines of Dixie Chicks fame on a couple of tracks — serves up a fresh, entertaining helping of  rootsy storytelling.

I can’t get enough of this album, which includes bluegrass classics such as “Wayfaring Stranger” and “Hot Corn, Cold Corn,” alongside his peppy take on Richard Thompson’s “52 Vincent Black Lightning.” He even does a credible job on 1959’s “Long Black Veil,” first recorded by Lefty Frizzell but most closely associated in my mind with Johnny Cash, who released two versions of it — a studio cut in 1965 and a live version on the 1968 album “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison.”

In all, this project went a long way toward reminding me what a genuine, original voice Keen has. And I have little doubt that it will help me — and maybe you — hear his back catalogue with fresh ears.

 

 

 

 

 

Amy Bezunartea: Pop hero or new villain?

Amy Bezunartea performs at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 on Sept. 1, 2015. (© 2015, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Amy Bezunartea performs at Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 on Sept. 1, 2015. (© 2015, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

If you’re a curiosity seeker who decided to check out singer-songwriter Amy Bezunartea because you heard — or heard about — the NSFW lyrics in her new single, “Oh the Things a Girl Must Do,” good for you.

But stick around, there’s more — a lot more  — to this artist than one line that incorporates slang for vagina:

Oh the things a girl must do
If you only knew
Just how much the world wants to see
Everyone’s having fun
When it’s over you can tell
They all want the pussy
But they don’t like the smell

NPR’s “All Songs Considered” praises the work while falling all over itself to call out the song’s frankness, using “graphically” in its headline. As if that weren’t enough, the NPR post also carries the warning label “LANGUAGE ADVISORY: This song contains sexually explicit language,” and uses the terms “a shocking turn” and “NSFW (not safe for work)” in the text. 

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Sharon Van Etten, Diane Cluck, Lucinda Williams and more record ‘lost’ Karen Dalton songs

cfe97723-df5a-4bcf-883b-db3feb010d45Over the last few years, it seems that every last known recording of the late Karen Dalton — who in recent years has become a role model for women singers, particularly of freak folk variety — has been released, regardless of quality.

Her studio recordings, just two albums, don’t include anything Dalton wrote. Nor, as far as I know, do the three collections of unreleased tracks issued after her death.

More than a few articles about Dalton even say definitively that she never wrote her own songs.

Once again, we see proof that you should never say never.

Tompkins Square Records is about to release an album of songs Dalton wrote, made available by Peter Walker, who handles her estate.

The label, which has done much good work with Daniel Bachman, Bessie Jones, the Imagination Anthem series and other releases, will release the collection on May 26.

“Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs of Karen Dalton” features 11 songs, each recorded by a different notable female artist, including veterans Lucinda Williams and Tara Jane O’Neil, DIY darling Diane Cluck, and indie icon Sharon Van Etten.

The artists were given Dalton’s lyrics, but, with the exception of the title track, no clues to Dalton’s intentions for the melodies or harmonies she intended. Van Etten, who did the title track, had a chord chart to work with. 

I haven’t heard any of it yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.

In the meantime, here’s the tracklist:

1) REMEMBERING MOUNTAINS – SHARON VAN ETTEN
2) ALL THAT SHINES IS NOT TRUTH – PATTY GRIFFIN
3) THIS IS OUR LOVE – DIANE CLUCK
4) MY LOVE, MY LOVE – JULIA HOLTER
5) MET AN OLD FRIEND – LUCINDA WILLIAMS
6) SO LONG AGO AND FAR AWAY – MARISSA NADLER
7) BLUE NOTION – LAUREL HALO
8) FOR THE LOVE I’M IN – LARKIN GRIMM
9) DON’T MAKE IT EASY – ISOBEL CAMPBELL
10) AT LAST THE NIGHT HAS ENDED – TARA JANE O’NEIL
11) MET AN OLD FRIEND – JOSEPHINE FOSTER