LOS ANGELES’S OWN WEBA GARRETSON SPINS THE GOODS AFTER A SUCCESSFUL KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN AS “SUCH IS LOVE”
IS RELEASED ON VINYL
Los Angeles, CA March 20, 2013 – Weba Garretson is a classically trained singer, but she has a wild streak, and her music has moved in daring directions. From punk rock, to Kurt Weill, to avant-garde jazz, she’s able to bend her talents in any and all directions. Over the past three decades she’s taken her voice to the far shores of the experimental world; now, with Such Is Love, an original cycle of Bossa nova songs, she takes it to the realm of melody and romance.
“Bossa nova songs are the sonic equivalent of cinematic close-ups; you have to be totally naked and available in order to sing them, and the music has a unique intimacy,” says Garretson, in explaining what drew her to the great Brazilian style. “It has these spaces where the voice drops down and there’s nothing, and I love that transparency. I’m used to making myself heard over rock bands, and one thing I love about this music is that it’s quiet.”
Featuring guitarist Ken Lasaine, drummer Joe Berardi, cellist Jessica Catron, and bassist Marc Doten – with cameo appearances by musicians Vince Meghrouni, Rumi Flute, Dave Iwataki, and Toby Harwell – Such is Love wasn’t conceived as a formal homage to Bossa nova. “It makes no attempt to be a perfectly rendered imitation of the style,” says Garretson of the song cycle, which matches her lyrics with music by Steve Stewart and Nate Scoble. “It’s a hybrid of Bossa nova, my life, and my musical world, and it’s an outgrowth of my particular universe.”
Synthesizing samba, jazz, and human experience into a gorgeous pastiche of sound, Such is Love is a lilting celebration of quotidian miracles; blueberry pie, a first kiss, a walk on a warm summer evening, a phone call from a beloved friend. A crucial ingredient in Bossa nova is the bittersweet intermingling of sorrow and joy, of course, and this is a central element in Such is Love, too. Eschewing chorus-verse-chorus structure, the songs unfurl as a kind of wistful, linear narrative, and are written from a place of maturity. The title track reflects on the early days of Garretson’s romance with her husband, Mark Wheaton; the next song in the sequence, Before, recalls a furious argument they once had. In Simply Voices, Garretson delights in her relationship with her mother, artist Virginia Garretson; Rug Out reflects on the grief that overcame her when her mother passed away during the making of Such is Love. “Some of the songs are sad, but the record is hopeful, too,” Garretson points out. “My favorite song on it is called So Many Rainbows, and it’s about that place beyond grief where you see beauty in everything, and you’re able to use beauty to remember somebody.
Available both as a download, and a limited edition vinyl pressing, Such is Love was produced and engineered by Mark Wheaton, at Catasonic Studios, a recording facility established by Garretson and Wheaton in 1997. Of Wheaton’s contribution to the music, Garretson says, “every song was recorded differently, because all the songs came together differently. Mark and I collaborated on the arrangements on three of the songs, but more importantly, all of the layers and effects woven throughout the record are his work.”
“We were interested in the challenges of making a vinyl record, and wanted to understand how they differed from those of a CD — and we discovered that the challenges are quite different,” says Garretson of the experiment in vinyl, which was financed with funds raised through a gratifyingly successful Kickstarter campaign.
“A CD is more robust and can handle a lot, and it allows you to make cavalier decisions that you just can’t get away with on vinyl.”
Packaged in a beautiful jacket featuring a reproduction of a painting by Garretson’s mother, Such is Love was clearly made with a great deal of care and devotion, so it’s startling to learn that she began the project several years ago, put it aside for a very long time, and almost abandoned it entirely.
“Artist like me, who aren’t signed to a major label and aren’t famous, are vulnerable to losing faith in themselves and their work,” says Garretson in conclusion. “When you complete a new project you tend to be madly in love with it, but it’s very easy to fall out of love with your work, put it on a shelf, and forget about it. But I think that you owe it to the material, and to everyone who contributed to the music, to put your doubts aside and get the music out there.”
Weba Garretson was born in White Plains, New York, and moved to Los Angeles in 1979. She was lead vocalist with L.A. groups the Pearls, Weba & the Wailing Turbans, and Weba and the Harry Knows Quintet — all with guitarist Steve Stewart. In the 1980s, she starred in The Weba Show, a series of avant-garde vaudeville shows directed by David Schweizer and performed with Philip LIttell and Jerry Frankel. In 1993 she formed a band with Ralph Gorodetsky and guitarist Joe Baiza, and together they developed a style that incorporated elements of spoken word, funk, jazz, and punk. In 1995 she released her first album, Welcome to Webaworld, which was followed a year later by a second, titled Puttanesca. In 1997 Garretson assembled the Eastside Sinfonietta, which created new arrangements of classic songs from the Weimar Republic. In 2000 she starred in a production of Brecht & Weill’s Happy End, produced by Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and in 2003 the Sinfonettia released Don’t Be Afraid, an album of music from the play. MOCA’s curator Julie Lazar introduced Garretson to video artist Bill Viola, and she has since appeared in more than a dozen of his works. For more information about Weba Garretson go to: www.webagarretson.com and www.weba.bandcamp.com
Such is Love can be found on