Friday, February 5, 2010

Ode to...

Rachael Yamagata has one of those smoke-bred voices that grips you by the throat. She won't waste your time with petty pop songs once she's got your attention-- Rachael delves into the dark subconscious more than you might be able to stomach on first listen (particularly on her gorgeous 2009 double album Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart.) But you can't fault a girl for wearing her heart on her sleeve. Especially when the songs are this good. Her lyrics are brimming with questions about love, grief, longing, heartbreak--and that's only disc one. On disc two guitarist Kevin Salem and producer Mike Mogis strap on the guitars for some devilishly-good steering wheel moxie-rock.

After a four year gap between her RCA debut Happenstance, Rachael toured the world, took a vacation, recorded her follow-up, changed labels, changed management, toured again, and finally released the aforementioned follow-up. That's a lot of waiting around if you're a fan. Good thing there were perfomances, like the following on Morning Becomes Eclectic, to tide us over. The new songs are quite different from their recorded counterparts, but hearing them in the early stages makes it that much more intimate. From delicate piano confessionals like "Parade" and Happenstance's "Quiet," to the slow build of the epic, crushing "Sunday Afternoon," these songs make for some soul-stirring poetry.

Rachael recently lent her voice to a duet on the soundtrack for the film adaption of Nicholas Sparks' "Dear John." Rachael co-wrote on the track "You Take My Troubles Away" with Dan Wilson. Rachael will be appearing on the upcoming Cayamo Cruise along with John Hiatt, Emmylou Harris and more. She's likely to perform some new material considering album three is currently in progress.

Rachael Yamagata on Morning Becomes Eclectic 2005
1. What If I Leave
2. Be Be Your Love
3. Parage
4. Quiet
5. Sunday Afternoon
6. Reason Why

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