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by Sarah Zupko

12 Feb 2009

Elizabeth Willis is a classically trained violinist and pianist who began playing at the age of four. Yet, she left that behind to focus on pop music composition. Given her classical background, it’s not surprising that Willis sought vocal instruction when she realized she’d need to sing her songs. Lead single “One” from her self-titled album drew praise from Ludacris after he discovered the tune on his WeMix.com web site. “One” is a beautifully constructed song with rich strings, moody piano and a rather melancholoy atmosphere. Willis credits Russian music as a major influence and one can hear those minor chord shadings and Slavic moodiness being a prime driver of “One”.

Elizabeth Willis
One [MP3]
     

by Michael Kabran

12 Feb 2009

Recently, new age music got a major dose of street cred courtesy of an unlikely source. Though it wasn’t televised or even publicized all that much, legendary jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette snagged the 2009 Grammy for—get this—best new age album.

You may remember DeJohnette as the man holding down the beat for several little known musicians like Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, and some guy called Miles Davis. Over the years, DeJohnette has tackled and mastered nearly every type of jazz and pop form, from free jazz and fusion to rock and R&B. Now, we can add new age to that list.

I must admit that new age music has never been at the top of my list. Embarrassingly for a music critic, I’ve always viewed it the way people look at abstract art: It’s pretty, but what’s so special about something my four-year-old nephew could do. If music were a collection of animals, new age would surely be the snail. Slow and methodical, it seems to rarely change its pace and direction. If jazz is the epitome of spontaneous, exciting, and emotional music, new age always seemed like the opposite—stagnant, boring, and devoid of genuine feeling. A not-so-scientific look at the past Grammy winners for best new age album reveals names like Paul Winter, Enya, and the Clannad. Accomplished musicians in their own right, but not exactly the artists that speak for a generation. Jack DeJohnette is another story.

by Sarah Zupko

12 Feb 2009

Marissa Nadler’s “River of Dirt” is a haunting, melancholy tune from her upcoming Kemado release Little Hells (March 3). The video for the song was directed by Joana Linda and evokes the feelings of loneliness and homesickness in the lyrics via scenes of wide open spaces and pensive expressions.

 

by PopMatters Staff

12 Feb 2009

Obits
“Pine On” [MP3] from I Blame You [24 March]
     

Great Northern
“Houses” [MP3] from Remind Me Where the Light Is [28 April]
     

Woodhands
“Electric Avenue” [MP3] from Dancer [3 March]
     

Pronto
“When I’m on the Rocks” [MP3] from All Is Golden [10 March]
     

by PopMatters Staff

12 Feb 2009

Michael Keefe named Eleni Mandell’s Miracle of Five the third best singer-songwriter album of 2007, calling it “her subtlest and best work yet… torch-singing crosses with sad ‘50s pop and, yes, a bit of vintage country balladry… her songwriting is too good to ignore.” Mandell follows up that superb effort with Artificial Fire, releasing next week on Zedtone. Here’s the title song as well as her upcoming tour schedule. As Keefe said back in 2007, “Mandell might not be begging you to listen to her music, but I am.”

Eleni Mandell
“Artificial Fire” [MP3]
     

TOUR DATES
2/19: Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo - Los Angeles CD RELEASE SHOW!
2/21: San Diego, CA @ Casbah
3/05: New York, NY @ Joe’s Pub
3/06: Toronto, ON @ The Mod Club      
3/08: Cambridge, MA @ TT The Bear’s Place
3/09: Philadelphia, PA @ Tin Angel
3/19: San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
3/21: Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
3/22: Seattle, WA @ Triple Door
3/26: Chicago, IL @ Schubas
3/27: Minneapolis, MN @  Cedar Cultural Centre
3/28: Kansas City, MO @ Davey’s Uptown
3/30: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive

//Mixed media
//Blogs

A Chat with José González at Newport Folk Festival

// Notes from the Road

"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.

READ the article