Arielle Silver – Watershed
Ms. Silver is CA-based & born on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Inspired by the output of vocalists that gave birth to many Laurel Canyon & Greenwich Village artists. Arielle’s music carries explorations with imagery, empathy, insight & healing the wounds of society.
Produced by Shane Alexander (acoustic/baritone & electric guitars/glockenspiel/bgv/claps) the 10-track, 38-minute Watershed (Drops Oct 6-Seeding Thunder Records) is her 5th. Songs draw from touchstones — her childhood, spirituality & memories of places.
I never prescribed to the Southern California singer-songwriter ethic, but they did serve a purpose. I always leaned more toward artists like Laura Nyro, Judee Sill, John Prine, Guy Clark & Townes van Zandt. Their songs were more urban & rural oriented in a varied solidified nature rather than utopian dreams of what could be.
Arielle has a mellow affirmation to her work & a persuasive tone; her lyrics are intelligent & translate through her musical interpretations. She sets a mood like a scent from another time. Her subjects are equally compelling since few female musical artists presently challenge themselves as Arielle does.
Each tune is different. That alone creates a gratifying urge to listen more. “Rickie Lee,” is an upbeat finger-snapping jazzy treatment done with expertise. Her intonation, phrasing & inflection – are all on target. She understands what words need to do. She indulges in a girl-group backup vocal in a jazzy arrangement. That’s creative.
It’s apparent Arielle has a superb ballad voice with lounge-singer polish, a folksinger’s warmth & she injects an air of intimacy where required (“Ghost Ships”). A marvelously produced effort that distills cliches, evaporates the standard musicality & avoids mainstream sameness.
Arielle doesn’t experiment much. Everything is accessible. I’d suggest she’s on the course of Joni Mitchell & Ferron as far as lyrics married to melody. There’s an originality in her conceptualized & articulate compositions. Even the silly dip into asteroids & chaos becomes scintillating.
Her voice is a major attraction throughout. It’s unlike most contemporary female singers except for past veterans like Madeleine Peyroux, Jane Oliver, or Janis Ian. There’s life to Ms. Silver’s voice. No melancholy, valium-induced angst-ridden taunt tones. There’s spirit, broad brush strokes with lyrics, shadings of geniality & a magnetic attraction. Not quite a blues voice, or Broadway stage voice.
An assertive & authoritative voice quite simply (“Clipped Wings”). “Bottle Up Tonight,” should be listened to on a rainy evening alone with a slow, soothing Courvoisier. That would be Arielle’s voice on your ears’ taste buds.
Highlights – “Soft On the Shoulder,” “Bramble Vine,” “Rickie Lee,” “Miracle,” “Clipped Wings,” “Riverdock at Sunset” & “Bottle Up Tonight.”
Musicians – Arielle (vocals/acoustic guitar/clarinet/claps), Justine Bennett (bgv), Rob Hodges (cello), Darby Orr (bass/piano/organ/mellotron/Wurlitzer/Farfisa/melodica/keyboards), Jesse Siebenberg (pedal steel guitar/lap steel/Weissenborn) & Denny Weston Jr. (drums/percussion).
The CD has a 6-panel insert with lyrics. Color image courtesy of Anabel DFlux. CD @ Bandcamp & https://www.ariellesilver.com/
Enjoy our previous coverage here: Video Premiere: Arielle Silver “Ghost Ships”