Johnathan Rice – Hayley Coupon
Johnathan Rice has done his best work to date on his third full length LP Good Graces (SQE Music). When asked about this collection of songs, Rice spoke candidly about his attempt to make what he called “healing music.”
“Some people really close to me had been going through an exceptionally rough time, therefore I was going through a rough time,” he admits. “People that I love very much were struggling with extreme darkness. Thoughts of suicide and deep hopelessness. Fundamental questions like: do I want to be here or not? That absolutely informed the writing of this record. It wasn’t about exploring how difficult and dark things were and lamenting the situation. I tried to heal myself and the people around me with the music. It was about finding the frequencies, the melodies, and the words that would help. That was in the front of my mind. That was the best I could do for the people I love the most.”
In order to collect his thoughts and focus the writing, Rice crossed coasts, leaving his Laurel Canyon home for a friend’s New York City abode. Having just wrapped up a year of touring the world behind his collaboration with Jenny Lewis—Jenny and Johnny’s I’m Having Fun Now—January 2012 in the Big Apple proved oddly peaceful for the singer, songwriter and producer. It would be the first solo material since 2007’s Further North.
“I had been so busy recording and touring that it was necessary to take a month away from home and write,” he goes on. “It was a conscious choice – I had been exploring writing and making records with other people – I really wanted to return to my own sound, which I feel is clearer than ever. It was time for another solo album.”
Hayley Coupon, a self-taught New York-based singer and pianist inspired by American folk and classic rock, writes songs that bridge the seemingly impassable divide between vocals-driven pop and acoustic, lyrically lush folk rock. After writing her first few songs in the spring of 2012, Coupon spent the next year collaborating closely with friends to record her debut EP, Remembrance. Richly yet sparingly orchestrated, nostalgic, and poignantly performed, Remembrance is grounded in Coupon’s rhythmic piano and expressive vocals. With influences as disparate as Joni Mitchell and Radiohead, or Leonard Cohen and Jon Brion, Coupon reclaims and updates the spirit and tradition of the singer/song-writer art form in its confessional compositions and personal imagery. Her voice has a unique tone that “sets Coupon apart from her singer-songwriter contemporaries and places her in a category all her own” (Pigeons and Planes), and her songwriting has been commended for it’s “reserved strength and fierce delicateness” (Kick Kick Snare).
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Event Category: Live Music
When: September 23, 2013
Where: Mercury Lounge
More Info: http://www.mercuryloungenyc.com/