Mara Measor‘s eponymous debut album is a late summer treat, a collection of songs colored by a diverse palette that span roots in folk, jazz and alt-rock, with a splash of arty chamber pop thrown in. Her stylistic range merges into a studied sound that’s both memorable and intellectually satisfying. (Kudos to album producer Jamie Lawrence for his light touch and diverse approach to framing Measor’s music.)
Her bio compares her to a mashup of Jason Mraz and Regina Spektor, but Measor’s artistic scope also reminds me of a Jane Siberry, an idiosyncratic Canadian singer-songwriter who’s less known because she’s marched to a different drum all her career. Measor’s music has a broad appeal so I hope that she won’t have to work the margins of the mainstream and can break through to a wider audience.
“Mara” deserves to be heard. It opens with insistent acoustic strumming that punctuates the desperation of “Desperate for You,” and the track introduces Measor’s supple, sultry voice, which can soar from a whisper to a full-throated roar, matched by an arrangement that builds when it needs to and then returns to a plaintive piano and Measor’s solo strumming to let the listener back down.
The tracks that follow showcase her sensibility with mostly downbeat ballads and mellow swing and her wordsmithing — the only cover on the album is Coldplay’s “The Scientist.”
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One of the most satisfying aspects of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival, the annual Asian community event that I’ve been involved in since its debut in 2001, is the mix of traditional Asian and Pacific Islander culture on display along with the new, Asian American values and ideas. That mix is most evident not in the festival athletic competition or the marketplace, where 90+ vendors sell their wares, but on the Performing Arts Stage.
In recent years, some of my favorite performances have been by APIA artists playing contemporary music: Chinese-Filipino Wendy Woo, a popular Colorado singer-songwriter and guitarist, with her Woo Crew rock band; Dwight Mark, a Chinese American multi-instrumentalist mining everything from blues to bluegrass for his original music; and this year for the first time, Korean American singer-sonwgriter Phyllis Heitjan from Philadelphia. Continue reading →
|James Talley, songwriter and real estate agent
The best music â€“ the kind that can stand that clichÃ©d olâ€™ test of time â€“ has a way of resonating as deeply and fully today as it did back when it was first recorded.
Thatâ€™s what comes to mind when I listen to â€œGot No Bread, No Milk, No Money, but We Sure Got a Lot of Love,” the debut album by singer-songwriter James Talley. The album was released way back in 1975, but it sounds as fresh and relevant as it did back then â€“ and as a bonus, it sounds downright hip today, even though it was something of an anomaly back then.
Never heard of James Talley? Donâ€™t feel bad, most music fans havenâ€™t. Continue reading →