Yesterday, I received two CDs in the mail, both of which I was very eager to get my ears on. The first, which Iíve been eagerly awaiting for a few months, is the debut release from a Canadian singer/songwriter named Joanna Chapman-Smith.
This CD, entitled Eyre Corvidae is a wonderful, acoustic collection of original songs by a very talented up-and-coming name in the Canadian music scene. Instrumentally, the songs are very stripped Ė usually only Joanna's guitar with tasteful vocal layers. I'll add here that Joanna is a gifted and creative guitarist, this isn't your simple 3 and 4-chord strumming - there's a lot more to it than that!
There are a few additions though, where Joanna has some very tasty strings, electric guitar, bass, and even drums! Thereís some wonderful fiddle work on the second track, ďMoment of GreenĒ, mixing in some Irish-folk seasoning to make it even tastier! There is also some great fiddle work on track 10, "The Dealer". My favorite track on the CD so far is Track 11, "Adrienne", which is one of the tracks that has drums as well. No, thatís not why itís my favorite. It's one of the few tracks on the CD with a minor feel, and this song has a flowing melody that carries me, plus a wonderful yet wistfully subtle use of back-up vocals and...I don't know, I just love it. *sighs contentedly*
Mood-wise, the CD is at times reminiscent of Lori Carson, who was very good at capturing a feeling and putting that into sound. She was good at it solo and she was good at it with The Golden Palominos. Lori Carson was much more melancholy than Joanna, however, who even with serious songs doesnít become gloomy.
Vocally, Joanna has a purity and a passion that belies her relative youth. All at once she has the depth of Joan Baez, the soft vocal harmonies of second-'til-Tuesday-album-era-Aimee-Mann combined with Ani diFranco's ease of expression and delivery. Very well done. I love this CD.
Thereís another great thing about this CD, much to my delight. When I unwrapped the original copy of it and opened the case, I was met with these words, which were alone and centered on the back of the booklet: ďIím sorry Greg, this seemed the best way to tell you, Iím pregnant.Ē Thatís going to crack me up for years to come.
Check out Joanna's wonderful website! Better yet, buy her CD on CD Baby
Joanna Chapman-Smith is currently in Vancouver, British Columbia, but I found out about her through her sister, Catherine. I met Catherine at a Validation conference in D.C. back in January/February of 2005. We've kept in touch, and of course music would come up. I gave her a copy of Lickiní Lolli, my then current music project, and she sent me this CD from her sister, who sheís extremely proud of, and rightfully so. Of course it was called Plain Jane then, I bought it later from CD Baby when I updated this page.
I hope to hear more from Joanna Chapman-Smith, and I hope that you have the pleasure of hearing her soon!
Update:After exploring Joanna's website, I've found some new songs on her MySpace page! check it out! Even more good news that I heard from Joanna's sister is that she's got a side project going also! It's a sort of folk/bluegrass gig called Lily Come Down
The second CD I got in the mail was from my very favorite online diarist, Kristin. http://kristintracy.diaryland.com. I know Iíve mentioned Kristin before, sheís an absolute crackup, a very descriptive writer, and a woman with sass and attitude! I look at her diary every day, hoping for a new entry. She does have a notify list, (like I do, so sign up!) but I look anyway.
She was making a mix CD last week and offered to send a copy to the first 10 people to email her a question. Never slow on the draw, I send her an inquiry right then. No, my question was not ďCan I please have a CD?Ē but it was something equally banal. Thankfully, she answered it!
After she told me she was going to send me a CD, I decided that I would make one for her too. Look, Iím not that selfish. NO. Iím. Not. You be nice now.
So, I made on and sent it to her. It was all sort of mellowish music (rock, light rock, alternative) with female vocals, and if Iíd waited a few more days I would have put a song from Joanna on it. Sorry Kristin, it'll be on the next one!
Kristinís mix CD is really great, and spans numerous decades and genres. It's got some classic rock, rock, pop, alt. hip-hop, new-wave (ooh, that expression dates me!), and whatever the White Stripes are classified as. A much more creative selection than mine, to be sure. In my own defense though, I had about 14000 songs to choose from, and since I couldn't possible pick less than 200 or more favorites songs, I just decided to subdivide into a number of mix CDs. This is just Volume 1.
Whatís really cool about Kristinís mix CD is that of the 19 songs she put on here, I only have 4 of the songs in my collection! (Well, 5 if you count the song from Kill Bill, since Iíve got the DVDs)
Rock on Kristin, thanks!
I intended to write more, but thisíll have to do for know. Look for another entry soon!