Monday, April 19, 2010
Serpent Tales & Nightingales
I felt right at home listening to Jennifer Grassman’s new CD, Serpent Tales & Nightingales. Its theatrical songs with rock background would be right at home in the Off-Broadway musicals I love.
And just like in an Off-Broadway musical, the songs convey a range of sensibilities, be they dramatic and energetic, as they are in “The Search,” “Praying to the Walls,” “Blackbird” and “The Haunting Avuncular,” mystical as in “Little Bird” and “The Bedroom Door” or romantic, as in “The Promise,” a duet with JJ Worthen.
Grassman’s music has been compared to Sarah Brightman, Loreena McKennitt, Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Danny Elfman. An independent recording artist based in Texas, Grassman wrote and sings all 16 songs on the CD, and plays piano, keyboard and handbells.
“My inspirations are mainly classical and include Chopin, Mendelssohn, Debussy and Bartok,” she wrote in a letter accompanying her CD. “For this particular album I researched Great Depression-era music. I thought it would be an interesting endeavor given the current economic situation to see what kinds of songs people liked during a similar (albeit much worse) situation 70 odd years ago.”
This nostalgic feel also is reflected on the cover, a 1930s Art Deco-style self-portrait.
Grassman seems to be an old soul with a contemporary heart, which is a pretty good combination. Take a listen to the songs. I think you’ll enjoy them too.