Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sunday Morning Coffee:: Zee Avi

Despite the fact weather is spat in our faces over the last few days, Spring has finally arrived. The sun shines most days and the flowers in my wife’s garden are already in bloom. That means the red wine gets retired to the basement, and ice cold beer becomes a regular visitor to our back deck. You just start smiling and wanting to break free from the prison that is the couch. In fact, already this morning, the sun is glistening off the Ocean, and you can't help but feel alive.

Without question, the music I gravitate towards changes as well. I still dig on Jack Johnson’s older material and the amount of plays he gets on nice days is still high, so it’s not surprising that I’ve fallen for the latest Brushfire artist, Zee Avi. From youtube sensation to a major label artist in a matter of minutes, Zee Avi is on the verge of being something huge.

The 23-year old Malaysian melds the picked acoustic/ukulele Island feel Jack has trademarked with jazzy vocals in a shockingly mature debut. Her debut record is old and new, as she balances her weightless strums with mature steel, horns and a vintage jazz feel. Just You and Me starts like any other beach-y number, but Zee builds an arrangement with a slappy stand up bass and horns and helps the simple riff blossom into a complete song.

She’s playful and honest, usually in the same song and that lets her unload her heartache on the listeners without overwhelming us with melancholy. Her voice is clear and filled with emotion and contrasts the darkness she often sings about. Honey Bee feels like a whimsy filled ditty, but the three-minutes is really a chance for Zee to talk about love and not fitting in, themes she revisits often. Is This The End shows her asking her lover if it's over, and accepting it even if it's not what she wants.

I know for most people, summer means new love, but this record shows even though the young Avi might be comfortable playing beach friendly songs, new flowers (Monte) and warmth aren't enough to blur her vision about heartache and pain. She knows it's going to take more than a few sunny days to be happy, but at 23 she is determined to be herself (I Am Me Once More) and knows it will work out. I wish I could have said the same about myself when I was her age.

MP3:: Zee Avi - Bitter Heart

Posted at 4:43 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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