Light of the Moon Sugar Hill Studios 2009
Songbird Sound Arts Studios 2011
by Andrew C Schlett
Chick singers have intrigued me for as long as I can remember. In the 70’s, it was Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, and Karen Carpenter. In the 80’s there were Pat Benatar, Dale Bozzio, and Stevie Nicks. The 90’s offered up Tori Amos, Gwen Stefani, and Amy Lee, among others. It’s just something about the high-melodic vocal range achievable only by female singers (with a few male exceptions such as Geoff Tate of Queensryche) that have always made them sound smoother to my ear than their male counterparts. The music of people like James Taylor is boring and dull to me, but when Carly Simon does James Taylor songs, I love them. Metal is in my blood, yes, but there is a secret stash of CDs in my bedroom that is nothing but Lisa Loeb, Cranberries, Sarah Brightman, Dido, Anna Nalick, and the like. They sooth me in times of stress, and lull me to pleasant sleep on nights when I otherwise would toss and turn. Call me a sissy if you will, but I have always had a soft spot for quality chick singers.
And now Girl Friday is in that secret stash as well.
Light of the Moon and Songbird are two 4-song EP’s that go very well together. Girl Friday’s songwriting skills, strong on the first album, mature and top themselves on the second. Her acoustic guitar playing is based largely in the style of a Joni Mitchell, but incorporates obvious influences of jazz, classic rock, and modern pop music. The song arrangements are solid on both albums, and the production values of each one is superb. Her backing musicians, different on each disc, are skilled players who support Girl Friday’s acoustic compositions well. Serious time and effort went into the writing, recording, and production of these two EPs, but what makes them succeed is that wonderful voice of hers. She does not have the soaring vocal range of a classically-trained opera singer, but she doesn’t need it. Her voice soars anyway, carrying the listener away on the wings of beauty and up into the soft-floating serenity of a lazy afternoon in the sunshine. That’s what Girl Friday has really done here, and what makes these discs so noteworthy: she has captured the sunshine, and set it to music.
Of the four songs on Light of the Moon, I think ‘Forever in my Heart’ is my personal favorite, but they’re all fine examples of Girl Friday’s talents. ‘Dorothy’, the first song on the disc, is perhaps the most pop-influenced of the bunch, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. The title track ‘Light of the Moon’ and particularly ‘Storm’, the third track, are so solidly composed that they stand easily alongside any of the chick singers I referenced above. Recorded in 2009 at the legendary Sugar Hill Studios, Light of the Moon set the template for what will eventually cumulate into a sizable body of discs over the course of Girl Friday’s working life.
2011 brought the release of Songbird, Girl Friday’s second 4-song EP, this one from the Sound Arts Studio. On this disc, the maturation of Girl Friday’s style and the evolution of her confidence are evident. Coming out with the aggressively fast-paced (at least, by Girl Friday standards) ‘Here I Go’, she brings it strong and loud from the start. The second song, ‘Carry Me Away’ follows in a similar theme and vein, but then she slows it back down somewhat in the third track ‘Leave the Light On’. Without doubt, though, this disc’s most far-reaching achievement is the epic title number ‘Songbird’. Girl Friday holds nothing back here, framing her exquisite vocal prowess within a captivating musical arrangement that includes violins and maybe even a mandolin, an instrument not entirely unheard of in the arena of folk rock. The lyrics to this song, too, catch you and almost compel you to listen; and so strong is the poetry offered here that it compares favorably to anything Joan Baez or Judy Collins ever wrote.
‘Songbird’ could easily turn out to be Girl Friday’s own personal ‘Stairway to Heaven’, that is to say, the song that becomes most closely affiliated and associated with her; that for which she is known best. If this does happen, though, it would only be appropriate. Girl Friday is a song bird in the truest sense of the phrase, a golden-haired little canary who sings with a power unanticipated from one so diminutive. The two EPs reviewed here are no doubt only the beginning of what will become a long and successful career for this talented young artist who carries a song in her heart and an acoustic guitar across her back.
Girl Friday is currently #3 on the Reverbnation charts for Singer/Songwriters in the Houston Texas area. You can learn more about Girl Friday, order these EPs for yourself, and listen to a wide variety of other Girl Friday music which includes some surprisingly good cover tunes, from her website. Simply visit http://www.girl-friday-music.com and enjoy!
"Songbird" Full EP
"Light Of The Moon" Full EP
With the kind permission of Lisa Serice, aka Girl Friday, we happily share out these two EP's here. As Lisa herself says, "Sure, go ahead and put them up. I'm not big enough yet to worry about anybody ripping me off!"
because the music matters