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The Silver-Spun Voice and the Golden Violin

Emily Wells

The Symphonies: Dreams, Memories & Parties

Creative Control Records

Review by Kent Manthie

It’s been a little while since I last wrote up a review of Ms. Wells. Last time it was for her debut solo CD, Beautiful Sleepyhead and the Laughing Yaks. What I can recall of that disc is that it was a beautiful, atmospheric showcase with a bit of “small-town” flavor to it. The songs were eclectic, some melancholy, some full of hope, but never dark or depressive.

On her latest CD, The Symphonies: Dreams, Memories & Parties, Wells takes a slightly different approach to her style. This time out it has a more urbane hook to it, even a little hip-hop flava thrown in for good measure, but still around is the ubiquitous violin that she’s been playing since she was four years old. It actually fits in quite well with the rest of the music.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, she and her family moved to Indianapolis in 1990. But having had enough of those small town blues she set out on her own and went a-traveling, ending up in that city of cities, New York, where she set up shop and stayed until 2002 when she moved out to Los Angeles, which is where she has decided to stay and make it her “home base”.

Now, when I mentioned that this was her second “official” CD, I was referring to CDs that were “professionally” made (whatever that means), but really, she’s been putting together her own CDs of whatever kind of stuff that she felt like doing. This is going back to when she was 13 and recorded a cassette tape full of her music and actually produced 100 copies, which, I suppose, are or will be soon, much sought after.

She not only is quite the musician and a wry songwriter, but she has an angelic voice that resonates well, it’s not too timid and not too brash, but it has a signature all her own.

With all those self-made recordings of hers she did get some attention – she received some attention from Epic Records (a division of Sony Entertainment) and flirted with the idea but in the end she demurred from signing with them (smart move!)

The attention has been streaming her way, nonetheless: in September of 2009 she appeared on “Last Call with Carson Daly”, one the myriad late night talk shows, where she performed “Symphony 1:  in the Barrel of a Gun” to a, no doubt, stunned audience. So, it’s nice that talented indie artists are getting some media attention.

Besides the aforementioned tune, a couple other standouts on The Symphonies… include: “Symphony 4: America’s Mercy War”, “Symphony 6: Fair Thee Well & The Requiem Mix” and “Symphony 9 & The Sunshine”. In fact, the whole CD is a great, chill-out CD that is always a treat to listen to, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Really, it should be just listened to all in one setting.

I’m hoping that Ms. Wells is going to wow us with another unique, golden album sometime soon. I know I can’t wait and also would love to see her play live (coming to San Diego anytime soon?) -KM

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