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Tales from the Realm of the Queen of PentaclesOne of music's most acclaimed singer/songwriters, Suzanne Vega, has crafted a stunning new collection of songs showcasing her trademark wit and poetic writing, which will be released this winter. Vega's first new studio album in seven years, 'Tales from the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles,' coming out on her own Amanuensis Productions on Feb. 18, 2014,features ten new songs each telling a story that has to do with the material world, the spirit world and how they intersect. "A lot of my older albums, especially the second one, was about being solitary," says Suzanne Vega. "This album has more of a sense of connectivity, there is a different spirit."
Vega spent the past few year writing and performing these new gems on the road, recording portions in Chicago, London, Prague, LA and New York City, and Kyserike Station, an old train station in upstate New York. The album was produced by noted guitarist/producer Gerry Leonard, David Bowie's musical director for over a decade and with whom Vega has worked since 2000, and features her longtime bass player Mike Visceglia and drummer Doug Yowell. Tracking for the album took place mostly at the Clubhouse Studios in Rhinebeck, and was mixed by Kevin Killen, who has worked with Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.
'Tales from the Realm taps into Vega's broad range of musical tastes, intertwining Dylan/Stones-inspired guitar-driven songs such as "I Never Wear White" to lush orchestral strings and trumpet flourishes on "There is a Road" to soul-packed background vocals and Vega's masterful classic folk elements.
A longtime fan of hip hop as well, Vega samples the 50 Cent hit song "Candy Shop" for one of the more atmospheric tracks on the album, "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain." This is Suzanne's first sampling effort - although her song "Tom's Diner" has been interpolated countless times in the hip-hop community, she has not sampled anyone else until this album.
For the first time on a studio recording, Suzanne has also assembled an illustrious group of musicians to accompany her including: Gail Ann Dorsey and Zachary Alford (David Bowie) on bass and drums for several tracks-a happy reunion as Suzanne and Zachary attended the same elementary school back in the 70's in New York City; bass player Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel) on "I Never Wear White" and "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain;" drummer Jay Bellerose (T-Bone Burnett); acoustic "wizard" Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan) who plays banjo, mandolin, and cymbal throughout the album; Sterling Campbell (David Bowie, B52s) on drums for "Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain" and "Laying on of Hands;" Alison Balsom, the virtuoso principal trumpet for the London Chamber Orchestra who is featured on "Road Beyond This One (Horizon) for Vaclav Havel" and background vocals from powerhouse singer Catherine Russell, known for her work with David Bowie and Paul Simon, among others. Lastly, the strings were recorded in the Czech Republic with the Smikov Chamber Orchestra.1. Crack In The Wall
2. Fool's Complaint
3. I Never Wear White
4. Portrait of the Knight of Wands
5. Don't Uncork What You Can't Contain
6. Jacob and the Angel
7. Silver Bridge
8. Song Of the Stoic
9. Laying on of Hands / Stoic 2
10. Horizon (There Is A Road)$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Live At The SpeakeasyRare Suzanne Vega Broadcast From Pivotal Moment Of Her Career
This superb broadcast recording captures Suzanne Vega at an early but pivotal moment in her rapid rise to world renown. The concert, at New York's intimate but influential SpeakEasy club in Greenwich Village, was performed the week her eponymous debut album was released in April 1985. This beautifully rendered show is also of particular note because, unlike at her later gigs, Suzanne appears entirely solo.LP1
2. Tom's Dinner
3. Small Blue Thing
4. Some Journey
6. The Queen And The Soldier
7. Knight Moves
1. Freeze Tag
2. Marlene On The Wall
4. Straight Lines
6. Gypsy$37.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Solitude StandingSolitude Standing is the critically acclaimed sophomore album from Suzanne Vega. Originally released in 1987, it was a story
of songs in which some of them had been written as far back as 1978. Singles like 'Tom's Diner' and 'Luka' were
major hits for the artist and her development as a singer shone through. The album reached #11 on the US Billboard
Top 200, with 'Luka' reaching #3 on the Hot 100.1. Tom's Diner
3. Ironbound/Fancy Poultry
4. In The Eye
5. Night Vision
6. Solitude Standing
10.Wooden Horse (Casper Hauser's Song)
11.Tom's Diner$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Live At The Barbican Vol.1Limited Edition 180 Gram Clear Vinyl
In 1987, Vega reached significant success with her critically acclaimed, second album Solitude Standing, which went on to become a platinum seller. This year marked the 25th Anniversary of Solitude Standing, which Vega celebrated at the Barbican playing the album in its entirety, plus more of her classic hits. This is part one of two instalments from that landmark show.1. Tom's Diner
3. Iron Bound / Fancy Poultry
4. In The Eye
5. Night Vision
6. Solitude Standing
10. Wooden Horse$37.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Dark Night Of The SoulDark Night Of The Soul is an album by audio auteur Danger Mouse and the already much-missed Sparklehorse. The record sees the pair joined by the following remarkable roll call of guests: The Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals), Jason Lytle (Grandaddy), Julian Casablancas (The Strokes), Black Francis (The Pixies), Iggy Pop, David Lynch, James Mercer (The Shins/Broken Bells), Nina Persson (The Cardigans), Suzanne Vega and Vic Chesnutt.
Rumors of this mysterious collaborative project began to circulate in early 2009 sparking widespread anticipation and excitement. Now, following months of talks, Danger Mouse and EMI announce that Dark Night Of The Soul will be released worldwide.
While this beautiful, haunting record being made widely and legitimately available is undoubtedly a cause for celebration, the news is shadowed by sadness following the recent passing of Mark Linkous, who released and performed under the Sparklehorse pseudonym. Dark Night Of The Soul will now stand as a defacto tribute to this well-loved, stunningly talented yet often-overlooked artist.
In addition to be featured on two songs, celebrated film director David Lynch has created a series of original photographs for Dark Night Of The Soul adding a spectacular visual dimension that will be incorporated in to the artwork for this already unparalleled project.LP 1
1. Revenge (feat. The Flaming Lips)
2. Just War (feat. Gruff Rhys)
3. Jaykub (feat. Jason Lytle)
4. Little Girl (feat. Julian Casablancas)
5. Angel's Harp (feat. Black Francis)
6. Pain (feat. Iggy Pop)
1. Star Eyes (I Can't Catch It) [feat. David Lynch]
2. Everytime I'm With You (feat. Jason Lytle)
3. Insane Lullaby (feat. James Mercer)
4. Daddy's Gone (feat. Mark Linkous & Nina Persson)
5. The Man Who Played God (feat. Suzanne Vega)
6. Grim Augury (feat. Vic Chesnutt)
7. Dark Night Of The Soul (feat. David Lynch)$29.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Indigo GirlsAfter a limited self-financed release, this self-titled album can be seen as the proper debut by Indigo Girls. The album immediately boosted them up the charts, earning them a Grammy back in 1989, eventually reaching platinum in 1991. Featuring the complementing songwriting of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray and guest vocals by R.E.M.'s Michael Stipe, the album is a showcase for jangling folk-rock, beautiful balladry and poetic lyrics.
In the wake of the new acoustic song-based styles of Suzanne Vega, Tracy Chapman and 10,000 Maniacs, Indigo Girls would manage to garner respectable mainstream success and maintain their rabid core following throughout the three decades after this release.1. Closer To Fine
2. Secure Yourself
3. Kid Fears
4. Prince Of Darkness
5. Blood And Fire
6. Tried To Be True
7. Love's Recovery
8. Land Of Canaan
9. Center Stage
10. History Of Us$34.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullersWhen Suzanne Vega first discovered the novelist and short story writer Carson McCullers as a teenager, she thought, "If I ever want to play a character at any point in the future, I could play this woman." That time has arrived. On Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers, Vega inhabits McCullers' extraordinary character and renders the life of a woman who, revolted by the politics and racism of her upbringing in the American South, arrived in New York in her early twenties and became one of the literary lights of the 20th century. In such esteemed books as The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1940), Reflections in a Golden Eye (1941) and The Ballad of the Sad CafÉ (1951), McCullers used the South as a lens through which to view the painful, nearly always unrequited, search for love in a world that often punishes individual self-expression and rewards repression and emotional compromise. McCullers battled those limits in her life as well as her work - a personal heroism that makes her, in Vega's view, a figure of great contemporary significance. She was an instinctive rebel whose message of personal freedom resonates profoundly in our own insurgent age, nearly fifty years after her death at the age of fifty in 1967.
"I feel that McCullers' ideas and thoughts are very modern," Vega says, "and she incarnates them in a way that other authors don't. She tried to live them and paid a price for it. She would refer to herself in a kind of transgender way - she would say things like, 'I was born a man' -- and she probably was bisexual even if she didn't always act on it. She was one of the first females to write about civil rights and the struggles of blacks in the South. Also, she suffered several strokes and was disabled for pretty much the second half of her life. To use today's parlance, her life and work embodied human rights on just about every level - race, gender, trans, queer, disabled, youth."
The ten songs on Lover, Beloved are part of a two-act play in which Vega and another actress perform the role of McCullers at two historical moments that bookend her career: the first, set in 1941, when The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter propelled her to literary fame, and the second shortly before her death, as she movingly reflects on her life and work. There are also plans to perform it as a one-woman show. Vega wrote the script, and co-wrote eight songs with Duncan Sheik, the singer-songwriter whose keen theatrical sense helped create the Broadway hit show Spring Awakening and the current groundbreaking musical, American Psycho. (Two additional songs, "Carson's Blues" and "The Ballad of Miss Amelia," were co-written by Vega and pianist/composer Michael Jefry Stevens.) In songs like "New York Is My Destination," "We of Me" and "Lover, Beloved," you can hear the signature cool detachment of Vega's singing and revel in the characteristically incisive observation of her lyrics, many of which deftly draw on McCullers' own writing.
But the songs' elastic melody lines, loping rhythms, idiosyncratic instrumentation (including clarinet, harmonium, banjo, ukulele, trombone and accordion), and surprising arrangements (by guitarist extraordinaire Gerry Leonard, who also produced the album) are like nothing we've heard from Vega before. "It was great working with Duncan Sheik," Vega says. "All you have to do is give him the barest bones of an idea and then he delivers this fabulous piece of music." For "Annemarie," an aching ballad about an androgynous adventurer with whom both McCullers and her husband fell disastrously in love, Sheik delivered a lovely, simple melody that, Vega says, "practically made me cry. I couldn't believe how beautiful it was. I wanted something with all that yearning, and I love what he came up with." For "New York Is My Destination," which describes the youthful McCullers' vision of her future as a celebrated novelist, Vega says she wanted "something classic, something that sounded like Rodgers and Hammerstein, something glamorous," and, once again, Sheik delivered a melody that perfectly complemented the heady excitement of Vega's lyrics.
Overall, Lover, Beloved finds a sound that exists outside of time. It's traditional enough to suit the iconic quality of its subject; clever enough to capture her originality and daring; and contemporary enough to help establish McCullers as an avatar for this century as well as the preceding one. Most of the instrumentation is acoustic, but, in particular, Gerry Leonard's evocative, atmospheric electric guitar playing lifts the music into another, more imaginative realm. That McCullers herself was an accomplished, classically trained pianist - and that the lyricism of her writing reflects that innate musicality - only further enhances the shivery dynamic between words and music on the album.
In order to realize the theatrical quality of this project, Vega, with Sheik's encouragement and assistance, also handled her vocals in a different way. "Duncan really pushed me out of my comfort zone," Vega says. "I was shocked at how high he wanted me to sing. But he was like, 'No, no - you can hit that.'" Sheik's goal was to achieve a kind of sonic drama in Vega's vocals, "as much drama as he could squeeze out of me," she says. "It works for the character. McCullers is kind of childlike, and you can believe her singing in that naïve, simple way. I'm pushed beyond my limits in both the low notes and the high notes, and also the emotion. I definitely feel as if I was being pushed beyond what I usually do."
Unquestionably, rendering a character like McCullers in words and in sound represented a serious creative challenge. All the songs on the album attempt to capture the innermost feelings of a writer who was highly ambitious, immensely complicated and fiercely dedicated to her conception of herself and her work. She was simultaneously shy, introverted and wildly provocative, as "Carson's Blues," the album's opening song, announces: "A childish liar/A devilish bitch/I can be innocent and charming/And suddenly switch." "Harper Lee," a song Vega describes as "upbeat and bitchy," chronicles McCullers' sense of her place in the literary pantheon - a spot, in her view, well above the wildly successful author of To Kill a Mockingbird. ("I'd like to kill more than just that mockingbird," she sings.) "Instant of the Hour After" and "We of Me" all explore the loving and loathing, the sexual adventurism and missed emotional connections, that swirled inextricably in McCullers' marriage to a bisexual man who shared her literary ambitions but was never able to realize them. On the title track, Vega limns the dizzying dance of unsatisfied desire at the heart of McCullers' work: "The lover pursues,/The beloved one flees Each one alone/In the land of the heart."
"12 Mortal Men" indicts the provincialism and brutal racism of Columbus, Georgia, where McCullers grew up. "The Ballad of Miss Emilia" essentially recounts the plot of McCullers' novella, The Ballad of the Sad CafÉ, a saga, like so much of her writing, of failed joinings, loneliness, and proud, if isolated, survival. By the time the album concludes with "Carson's Last Supper," McCullers has abandoned the ideal of erotic desire in favor of a more universal love that could embrace all the various characters in her books and the many people in her life - as well as, perhaps most importantly, the ravaging contradictions within herself that both drove her art and caused so much hardship in her life.
With Lover, Beloved: Songs From An Evening With Carson McCullers, Suzanne Vega achieves a new peak in her already distinguished career. With these songs and the play they inhabit, she hopes that "a new generation of people will discover Carson McCullers, that they will realize how cool she is and how compellingly her work can speak to them. I want to put her on the stage again so that her spirit lives. Really, no one is excluded from the vision she defined. I'm so excited by the possibilities." In these beautifully transporting songs, many of those rich possibilities have already been realized. - Anthony DeCurtis1. Carson's Blues
2. New York Is My Destination
3. Instant of the Hour After
4. We of Me
6. 12 Mortal Men
7. Harper Lee
8. Lover, Beloved
9. The Ballad of Miss Amelia
10. Carson's Last Supper$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Need You Now (Deluxe Edition)Plumb fans say her music brings hope and inspiration to their world. It's the highest compliment. Fame and fortune are fleeting, says Plumb, but making a difference in people's lives lasts for eternity. I want to tackle the difficult subjects in life, because I want people to know that the hard times, just like a piece of coal, can be turned into a diamond. So confesses singer/songwriter Plumb, an artist whose music blends the complex, feminine poignancy of Suzanne Vega and Sarah McLachlan with the sophisticated, modern rock of Shirley Manson from Garbage or Amy Lee of Evanescence.
Although Plumb's songs have sold millions of records for other artists, it's as a solo artist that her contribution to music can be felt most deeply. Plumb's music has appeared in Television shows ranging from Dawson's Creek, Felicity, ESPN's March Madness and more. Major motion pictures and soundtrack exposure include Bruce Almighty, Just Married, The Story Of Us, Loser, View From The Top, Drive Me Crazy, The Perfect Man and Evan Almighty. Plumb songs have also been recorded by the likes of Michelle Branch, Mandy Moore, Jennifer Page and more. Having achieved exposure in a variety of outlets as well as radio formats, Plumb's fans reach across multiple demos.1. Invisible
2. Drifting feat. Dan Haseltine
4. One Drop
5. I Want You Here
6. Say Your Name
8. Need You Now (How Many Times)
9. Chocolate & Ice Cream
10. Don't Deserve You
12. At Arms Length
13. Starting Over
14. Fall Back In
16. Lord I'm Ready Now
17. Don't Deserve You [Radio Mix]
18. Need You Now (How Many Times) [Worship Version]$24.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Live At The Barbican Vol.2Limited Edition 180 Gram Clear Vinyl
In 1987, Vega reached significant success with her critically acclaimed, second album Solitude Standing, which went on to become a platinum seller. This year marked the 25th Anniversary of Solitude Standing, which Vega celebrated at the Barbican playing the album in its entirety, plus more of her classic hits. This is part two of two instalments from that landmark show.1. Marlene On The Wall
2. Left Of Centre
4. Blood Makes Noise
5. Queen And The Soldier
6. Some Journey
7. Toms Diner (Reprise)
9. In Liverpool
10. Rosemary$37.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Rocket Ship Beach (Out Of Stock)Formerly lead singer with the acclaimed US alternative rock band the Del Fuegos, Zanes launched his solo career in 1995 with the release of Cool Down Time. Produced by Mitchell Froom with help from Tom Waits associate Tchad Blake, this collection anchored elements of blues and country as accompaniment to Zanes` dark narratives of loss, hurt and betrayal. As well as a cover version of Mose Allison`s `If You Live`, the artist`s own writing included the affecting ballad `Carelessly` and the tough blues of `Rough Spot`.
After relocating to New York City in the late 90s, Zanes settled down to family life with his wife and new baby. He began playing with a group of fathers under the name the Wonderland String Band, recording a number of privately distributed tapes. The idea evolved into a series of CD releases on Zanes` Festival Five label, featuring guest artists including Sheryl Crow, Aimee Mann, Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega and Dar Williams alongside the original band`s partners and children. Mixing standards, original material and childrens` songs in a delightfully unprententious manner, the series attracted positive reviews and even earned Zanes a Grammy Award for 2006`s Catch That Train!Side 1
1. Polly Wolly Doodle
2. King Kong Kitchie
3. Bushel and a Peck
4. Go Down Emmanuel Road
5. Goodbye Old Paint
6. Father Goose
7. Keep on the Sunny Side
8. Erie Canal
1. Buckeye Jim
2. Brown Girl in the Ring
4. All My Friends Live in the Woods
5. Weather Report
6. Mole in the Ground
7. On the Sunny Side of the Street
8. Sidewalks of New York
9. Over the Rainbow
$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Temporarily out of stock