Perpetual Change: “I Am A Stick” New CD from Baby Dee

| Oct 19, 2015

i-am-a-stickBaby Dee’s newest project, I Am A Stick, is one of her most interesting works to date. That’s really saying something because she’s perhaps the single most eclectic artist/performer I’ve ever come across. What makes this particular release so interesting, and at times even unusual, is the way she mixes so many different musical elements together.

The opening tack, project title song I Am A Stick, is very dynamic, even somewhat chaotic at times. There’s a loud, crashing percussion section in the middle of the tune which can catch a listener completely off guard because up until then it’s mostly light piano and vocal. In some places, the vocals are more spoken than sung and the whole thing is very cabaretesque/musical theater.

I’ve brought that last statement to Baby Dee’s attention before during a past interview and she said she didn’t see it. While her approach sometimes sounds like she has a musical theater background . . . she doesn’t. Her ability to not be pigeonholed categorically comes naturally.

However, in spite her attempt at plausible deniability, Baby Dee offers up some real comedic, musical theater type songs on this project. The best examples are the short tune Tokyo, the Latin inspired Bendy Bus (which was something I didn’t expect and features a full band sound), and the really unusual Okadoka, which is whistling accompanied by stand up bass and percussion.

The aforementioned different elements (i.e. genres) are also uniquely mixed. Sky Of Loving Arms has an excellent avant garde jazz piano part and the entire tune is very full sounding. It ends up being a sort of weird hybrid of jazz, rock, fusion, and prog rock.

baby_dee

Baby Dee

The tune Big Love is another one I wasn’t expecting. It’s a slow blues groove with string bass. Kind of sounds like the blues combo you’d expect to hear in a small club. The last one to fit this mixture is Hymn. It’s the only instrumental on the project, with just Baby Dee playing piano. It’s aptly named and does sound like something you’d hear at a gospel concert. A long time ago, Baby Dee actually was a church organist, so finding her drawing on that background really isn’t that unusual, I guess. Given the last few albums of hers that I’ve heard, I just wasn’t expecting to hear something like this, and it’s a welcome inclusion.

The two real outstanding tracks on Baby Dee’s I Am A Stick are Whose Rough Hands and Road Of Eyes That See. Whose Rough Hands has some of the best production on the entire project. It utilizes different time signatures, a full band sound, and at certain points sounds like something you’d expect to hear from Frank Zappa. While some of the lyrics are also spoken, it’s the most involved projection and manages to gravitate between piano/voice to an in-your-face chaos with a huge guitar part.

Road Of Eyes That See also features a full band, but it’s a laid back slow groove. It’s the other best production moment and is dynamic and powerful.

Baby Dee’s studio band is Alex Neilson, drums; Joe Carvell, bass; Victor Hererro, guitar; Colin Stetson, sax; Jordan Hunt, violin and string arrangements; Marie Anne Brucieri, violin; Sophie Broadbent, viola; and Laura Moody, cello.  (For more information, please check out www.babydee.org; also on Facebook, YouTube, Myspace and Twitter. Music is also available through major outlets such as Amazon.com)

ALSO THIS MONTH

de-alba11-15David de Alba

David de Alba is performing his current tribute to Judy Garland, entitled “Judy Forever In My Heart”, on November 8th, 2:30 pm at the Jewel Box Theater, located in the Erotic Heritage Museum, 3275 Industrial road, Las Vegas, NV. For ticket information, please call 702-794-4000. Visit David’s website for more about David.

Georgie Jessup

Georgie Jessup will be doing a solo show on Friday, November 13, as part of the Tall Trees Concert Series, at 1710 Dulaney Valley road, Towson, MD.  Also appearing will be Sarah Pinsker and Spice.

NEW MUSIC

Duran_duran_paper_gods_album_artwork

For those of you not in the know, Duran Duran was formed in Birmingham, England 37 years ago. Paper Gods is their 14th studio album. During the 1980s, the band was all over MTV, back when the “M” actually had something to do with music. Their videos often showcased their fashion sense as well as their music.

Nonetheless, this current project isn’t about fashion. They’ve managed to pull off the feat of keeping the sound their known for intact while also delving into current trends.

duran-duranThose trends involve the use of multiple producers, while the band also had a hand in producing each tune. The same goes with the songwriting. While the band is listed on each song as writers, they’re not stingy with collaboration.

Dance tunes are a trend they definitely haven’t shied away from. The best examples are Last Night In The City (ft. Kiesza),  Danceophobia (well, duh, considering the title…) and Change The Skyline (ft. Jonas Bjerre) .

The tunes where Duran Duran maintains their signature sound, and which will probably have the most appeal to older fans, are Kill Me With Silence (techno flavored modern rock, but very reminiscent vocally of older material), Face For Today, What Are The Chances (highly orchestrated), Sunset Garage (excellent rock), and opening track Paper Gods (mid-tempo synth rock, but still very much their old sound.)

The standout tracks are Pressure Off (ft. Janelle Monae), which is a sort of hybrid of their older sound with techno/dance, which could make the tune work for both club and radio formats, and Only In Dreams, which is one of the best production moments and will probably be the most appealing to old time Duran Duran fans.

Guitar duties were shared by John Frusciante and Dom Brown. For more information, please check out the band’s website.

I Am by Leona Lewis

Leona_Lewis_-_I_Am_(Official_Album_Cover)This is the fifth studio album by Leona Lewis. She’s listed as executive producer along with Toby Gad, but it’s Mr. Gad who is responsible for most of what happened in the studio as far as production and instrumentation is concerned. Nonetheless, it’s a powerful collaboration between the two of them.

Leona Lewis is an incredibly powerful vocalist and I have to admit I was expecting to hear something different than what came out of my speakers. The projects first cut, Thunder, is also the leading single. Very powerful, both vocally and overall as a song. Other powerful vocals are Fire Under My Feet, The Essence of Me and the title track, I Am, which is also the best production moment.

A couple surprises are You Knew Me When, which is a sort of laid back ballad (and one of Ms. Lewis’s best vocal moments), and I Got You, which is a hybrid of old school gospel and rock. This one song alone shows that Ms. Lewis has grown up listening to a lot of good material and isn’t afraid to let her influences out now and then.

(There’s a lot of collaboration going on with this project. The Lewis/Gad production team is also involved in a lot of the song writing, along with other writers. For more information, www.leonalewismusic.com; also on Facebook, Twitter, and instagram.)

Remixes and Covers by The Young Professionals

61n1II5uGrL._SS280The Young Professionals are Johnny Goldstein and Ivri Lider and are based out of Tel Aviv, Israel. They officially formed in 2010, but the basic idea for collaborating goes back to 2008.

This current disc contains just what the name implies. It’s a collection of 17 tracks, five of which are The Young Professionals own material, two of which feature vocalist Anna F.

The “Covers” part of the project includes some well know material by artists such as Tove Lo (Talking Body), Lana Del Rey (West Coast), Tegan & Sara (Closer), and Moby & Damien Jurado (Almost Home) . Rounded out with some of the more obscure tracks and artists, Remixes and Covers showcases what The Young Professionals have become well known for-studio wizardry aimed at keeping dance floors filled.

For more information about The Young Professionals, check out their website. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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