Pawn Shop Radio
Pawn Shop Radio. ( Release May 2020 ) JARO 4354-2
A Tom Waits Program
This debut album “Pawn Shop Radio” takes the listener on a female “buddy road trip” through America. It is a multicultural adventure that is alternately beautiful, funny, disturbing and moving.
VickiKristinaBarcelona, a trio of veteran musicians, singers and songwriters from New York, each of whom has a special sensitivity. It redefines the Tom Waits songbook with love and brings a uniquely feminine perspective to the rough and tumble debris.
The mythical, mischievous male archetypes – beat poets, railroad boos, sloppy drunks, hard-boiled cynics and hopeless romantics, the main characters in Waits’ tales – are transformed, their beauty and vulnerability revealed. Melodies burst forth and shine like cut diamonds, no longer in their raw state. Three-part harmonies and create their characteristic sound.
New York-born Rachelle Garniez is a genre narrator who can make music with any instrument she can find. She has made a name for herself as a street musician on street corners and subway platforms and in the club/performance scene of the 1980s in the inner cities of the world. Her theatrical approach evokes the emotional complexity of Waits’ repertoire and gives the group’s sound an anarchic unpredictability.
Originally from the UK, glamorous nomad Amanda Homi is deeply inspired by global rhythms and forms. She is at home in many different worlds, from Greek nightclubs to concert stages and recording studios in New York City. Amanda has collected a treasure trove of percussion instruments, which adds spice to the project and makes it unmistakable.
Brooklyn-born guitarist Terry Radigan switches to the professional songwriting scene in Nashville at an early age, where she receives awards and a Grammy nomination. She later returns to her rough, faltering roots and brings a smoky complexion to the songs that embeds the sound of the American landscape.
The group was loosely assembled a few years ago in a bar in Brooklyn just for fun, and solidified in 2017 as a self-contained band that responded to the encouragement of a loyal, growing audience crying out for more. They have earned a reputation as one of NYC’s most popular bands.
The band’s name is a mischievous and devious twinkle in the eye, a gently tweaked reorientation of Woody Allen’s classic movie title.
In this film, the lives of three women are thrown into a tumult of romantic complications, with a charismatic male artist at the center. At the end of the story, confusion is created and everyone goes their own way. The three women in the band turn the tables and the script around – and in the end, most importantly, each band member retains their own identity and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Tom Waits provides the commonalities, the basis of the songs. His songs are the essence of the project, but the interpretations are idiosyncratic and assertive. The unity of the three-part harmonies, the intertwining of inventive musical arrangements is marked by undeniable confidence and strength.
Tip: Track No 3: “Tango Till They’re Sore”
Information about the individual songs:
- “Cold Cold Ground” is a reference to the girl groups of the 1960s, from the Bronx to Motor City.
- “I Don’t Wanna Grow Grow Grow” a playful romp in the swamp, Louisiana Cajun and Zydeco.
- “Jersey Girl” dances to a Saturday night bachata beat celebrating America’s Latinx community, which will stay here.
- “Tango Till They’re Sore”, a wild ride inspired by Emir Kusturica’s passionate tales of the Roma people.
- “Chicago” the Blues meets Brazil in the Windy City, in Waits’ account of the great migration of African Americans from the South to the Midwest.
- “I’ll Be Gone” Dramatic departures lead to Felliniesque happy endings, it’s a journey with several destinations, from Iraq to Siberia.
- “God’s Away On Business”, a spit in the face of the big billionaires, New York City Punk Politic with a trip to the Jamaican Dance Hall
- “Gun Street Girl”, a saga told by the daughters of miners on a dark and stormy night in the Appalachian Mountains.
- “Innocent When You Dream”, a Celtic lullaby of remorse and redemption.
- “Way Down In The Hole” – a psychedelic voodoo involving the devil. A welcome addition to the many versions used as the theme song in the successful TV series “The Wire”.
All songs are written by Tom Waits, the titles 4,6,8.9 with the participation of his wife Kathleen Brennan.
QUOTES & PERFORMANCE REVIEWS
“Delay your heartbreak and see them now!” – Penny Arcade, Legendary Performance Artist
“VKB tames the beast with beauty” – Jeff Spevak, Rochester City News
“Gorgeous soaring harmonies and memorable quirky arrangements.” Gerry Geddes, Bistro Awards
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