July 1, 2010

Week 43: Paula Held - Drive

“I don't care about the moon, too hard to hold, too far away, I only care about you 'cause I can hold you every day” – I Don’t Care About The Moon

Paula Held

The debut release by Paula Held is a long time coming. It seems she’s been dabbling in music her whole life, but it wasn’t until she moved to Austin that she assembled a world-class group of players to lay down Drive. What she’s released is an adult contemporary jazzy record the likes of Joni Mitchell or Norah Jones.

“I Need To Drive” begins the album with a song that would be perfect for an easy cruise down one of Central Texas’ backroads. The second track, “Shoop Ta Sho” sounds like it could double musically for Rickie Lee Jones’ “Chuck E's In Love.” I love the descriptive wordplay of “Watermelon Moon Eye.”


My favorite track on Drive has got to be “Tumbleweed Heart.” It reminds me of “Sweet Butterfly” by Stanley Smith. It’s one of those unexpected love songs. “He had a tumbleweed heart, across the desert he whirled, and he spun like a top till all at once he stopped for a sagebrush girl.”


The entire album is certainly a departure from what I’m used to hearing from Austin bands. A welcome one. I’d place this more in the “timeless folk” arena. Held’s music seems it should be played in a listening room, like the Cactus Café (where her CD release show occurred recently).


Also, The cast of players on the Stephen Doster produced Drive is pretty impressive. It includes local players the likes of Doster (guitar), Chris Maresh (double bass), Red Young (keys), Ephraim Owens (trumpet), Dennis Ludiker (strings) and J.J. Johnson (drums).

You can see Held on television tomorrow at 4:30 on KEYE’s Afternoon show. Then on July 6 she’s playing a free show at the Cactus Café beginning at 8:30p.

In addition, Held is donating 10% of all CD sales to local charity Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM). For more information on Paula Held, visit her website http://www.paulaheld.com/.

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