Review of “Clear View”
Self-released with this CD, Philadelphia’s Nancy Falkow is back–but not for long. The veteran singer/songwriter is packing up and moving to Dublin, Ireland. Long a staple on the local folk scene, Falkow’s considerable vocal talents always took her beyond the city’s borders–whether on tour with Daniel Lanois, recording with Astrud Gilberto or playing at Lilith Fair. Falkow’s voice is honeyed but not too sweet.
Her sophomore full-length, Clear View, is a little bit Carole King, a little bit Lucinda Williams–a lovely collection of thoughtful songs that range from the lap-steel-heavy opener “Stay” to the brisk two-minute honky tonk of “Blue Ridge Highway.” The last track, “Where Do I Start?”, is a stunning piano ballad in which Falkow tries to list all the reasons she loves someone: “I love the way you get the moon to follow us home … I love the way you push the city back behind the trees … I love the way you get the waves to hit the rocks … I love the way you look at me.” If you hang on after the song is over, you’ll get a bonus track: Falkow’s inspired version of the Who’s “1921.” Just like Falkow, it’s quirky and soulful. Have fun in Ireland, Nancy, but don’t forget to write.
–Liz Spikol – Philadelphia Weekly
Suggested artist to explore: The ReAwakening
Review of “Clear View”
Nancy Falkow’s music stands at the intersection of folk and pop ventures down one direction without ever straying too far from the other on her sophomore album, Clear View. Like Patty Griffin and Dar Williams, Falkow has an obvious affection for The Beatles and she deftly blends those gorgeous pop strains into her contemporary folk presentation particularly on the disc’s “Stay” and “Under the Sun.” On the folk side, Falkow references the best of the genre; Suzanne Vega’s cool on “Sometimes You Jump,” Rickie Lee Jones’ jazzy lilt on “Eraser” and Shawn Colvin’s scuffed charm on “Sleepwalk” and “Where Do I Start?” Predictably, Falkow’s songs examine love from both sides now, but she definitely impresses with her engaging wordplay and impassioned delivery (“I love the way you get the moon to follow us home.” from “Where Do I Start?”). In a genre crowded with mediocrity, Nancy Falkow distinguishes herself with good songs, great arrangements and an intuitive sense of when and how to shift stylistic gears.
— Brian Baker Amplifier Magazine 9/2004
About Nancy Falkow
Singer-Songwriter Nancy Falkow takes a melody, introduces it to an image-laden lyric and gives it a home by creating a sound-scape in song. In June 2004 Falkow celebrates the release of CLEAR VIEW. A year and a half in the making, she teamed up again with Emmy-winning producer Shane McMartin to create an engaging and unique sophomore album. A performer first, Falkow has led a an exciting career as an independent artist; touring nationwide, singing on many projects and landing songs in TV and film.
As a vocalist Falkow has landed guest spots on recordings from Astrud Gilberto to G Love. Her most cherished career highlight was when she toured as a vocalist with Daniel Lanois on his “Shine” Tour in 2003. Early in her career a coveted spot at the Lilith Fair opened lots of doors for Falkow. She has shared stages with many personal heroes including Richie Havens, Donovan, Patty Griffin and Sarah McLachlan. With each experience she learned a little more and continued to grow as a songwriter and an entertainer.
CLEAR VIEW is a collection of charming acoustic-based pop-folk songs performed by a stellar line up. Falkow’s rich, textured, vocal soars melodically and soulfully through 11 new songs. The title track “Clear View” emanates a sweet darkness, while the shimmering melancholy of “Blindsided” bleeds an infectious melody and subtle heartbreaking lyric. “Under the Sun’s” lead vocal swims through a Leslie speaker while the opening track, “Stay’s” Led Zeppelin a la “Kashmir” lap steel and lap synth string outro captures the vision only Falkow & McMartin could produce.
As expected, Falkow had a little help from her friends. She surrounds herself with Philadelphia’s finest, including guitarists Mike “Slo-Mo” Brenner and Kara Lafty (The Jane Anchor), bassist Steve Demarest, percussionist Hoagy Wing, cellist Hotch, singer Jennifer Lynn, trumpetist Matt Cappy and keyboardists Amber deLaurentis, Pete Rydberg and Mike Richelle. Tracks arrived via USPS from Scot Sax and Mark Getten of the band Feel (Curb). McMartin held down double and triple duties on the drums, percussion and even a little bass.
Artist you may interest: The Turfers
“I really enjoyed co-producing this record with Shane,” Falkow explains. “I approached my vocal a lot differently, it’s very honest and straight forward. Overall, I wanted to achieve an open and simple sound. Nothing has been overproduced. We treated each song with exactly what it needed, whether it was horns or strings or just a piano and a vocal. Recording all of the overdubs was the most fun.”
Upon the release of her second album, Smitten, Billboard Magazine singled her out from the pack by saying, “Falkow is writing infectious pop/folk songs with palpable soul.”
With her Summer 2004 relocation to Dublin, Ireland, Falkow is looking forward to a whole new adventure and change of scenery. CLEAR VIEW ends her chapter in Philadelphia and begins a brand new one an ocean away.
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