Springtime is a time of birth and renewal. When goats kid and horses foal. It is also the time of year when new CDs start popping up around town. And like children, CDs always have interesting stories of gestation and labor. They closely resemble you. You can love them and hate them at the same time. They can keep you company in your dotage. With these releases music fans have a variety of opportunities to see what buns musicians have had in the oven this past year.
First-born: Kate Starr releases her debut CD, Questing Through Chaos,
Thursday at Gravity Lounge.
Here they are in chronological order only! Thursday, April 26, Kate Starr releases her debut CD, Questing Through Chaos, at the Gravity Lounge. The first 100 paying customers get a special edition EP and one of her great t-shirts. One of Charlottesville’s very best bands, The Naked Puritans, open.
On Friday night, Trees on Fire releases its debut CD at Starr Hill. The Green Room was recorded at Monkeyclaus and at the studio of The Naked Puritans’ Lance Brenner. The Trees’ regular Tuesday night gig at Gravity Lounge is on hold at present.
On Saturday night, Robin Wynn releases her second full-length CD, A Few Dusty Miles. The title of Wynn’s new disc alludes both to the fact that her band played 100 gigs in 2006 and that the band played a much bigger role in the writing of the new tunes. Wynn says, “Writing with a rock band in mind is just a broader experience and I love it.” The new disc definitely has more of a rock feel than her debut, Oblivion, but it also manages to retain the strong songwriter perspective. Producer and guitarist Mark Goldstein says, “It’s a snapshot of a couple of years of our lives, but it’s also a record of a period of real change and growth for us as musicians. We play under her name, but this really is a band.” You can also find Goldstein involved with a variety of new musical and recording projects around town. Musicians seem to always agree that he is great to work with. The Naked Puritans (again) and Dirty Dishes open.
Helen Horal used her winnings from The First Amendment Writes contest to fund the release of her CD Words Unbroken.
On May 4, Helen Horal, winner of The First Amendment Writes contest, releases Words Unbroken, a CD that the prize helped finance. Horal, who started playing at 17, came to UVA from Florida. She approached drummer and producer James McLaughlin about making some demos. Mclaughlin introduced her to the very fine band that helped make the record: Darrell Muller (Old School Freight Train), Sam Wilson (Sons of Bill), Daniel Clarke (Mandy Moore, Modern Groove Syndicate), Anne Marie Calhoun (Jethro Tull, DMB), Andy Thacker (High Society), Brian Chenault, and Stewart Myers (John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Rachael Yamagata). He also encouraged Horal to enter the contest. Since her win, ATO exec Bruce Flohr has offered his help. Horal says, “I have to pinch myself sometimes. He has been so generous in his advice; he is always willing to speak with me about recording, gigging, short-term and long-term goals, and any questions about music in general.” Horal’s friends Sparky’s Flaw open the show. The Naked Puritans appear to be nowhere on the bill.
Paul Curreri and Devon Sproule both have newly released music. Sproule is back from a British tour with Richie Havens and will very soon release the excellent Keep Your Silver Shined. She recorded the CD last year at Greenwood Studio with another musician’s favorite, Jeff Romano. Sproule is getting very good acclaim in Europe and is featured in a cover story in fRoots magazine. Curreri’s new disc, The Velvet Rut, was recorded at home and features the guitarist playing every instrument. He just returned from his first headlining trip in Ireland. Look for both CDs to be available within the month.
Matthew Willner is releasing the first of his recent recordings, a jazz fusion project featuring James McLaughlin, Darrell Muller, John D’earth and Bobby Read. Buy it when you see Willner out playing.
South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela will celebrate his new CD, Guiding Star, at Starr Hill on May 13.
South African singer and ATO recording artist Vusi Mahlasela’s new CD, Guiding Star, also comes out in very early May. The singer will perform those tunes and more live at Starr Hill on May 13.
Finally, Alex Caton, who led Las Gitanas for many years, has a new disc on the near horizon and a new band, Verbunk. Look for both at Gravity in May.
How lucky we are to live in this town. Please e-mail me if I missed your CD.