Little Light (Back Issue Series)
- Artist: GrooveLily
- Format: CD
- Release Date:7/8/2004
Would you like the short version of this review? All right then, here it is: GrooveLily rocks. Go immediately and purchase a copy of 'Little Light.' -- Devin Grant, Charleston Post and Courier, 4/19/2001 ------------------ Four years passed between GrooveLily's 1996 debut Jungle and Sky and it's next full-length album, Little Light. Between those two CDs, the group's members had no problem keeping busy. Keyboardist Brendan Milburn had a 1998 side project called Brendan & the Extenuating Circumstances, while lead singer/violinist Valerie Vigoda spent a lot of time backing major artists like Cyndi Lauper and Joe Jackson. And as a group, GrooveLily provided a 1997 EP titled GrooveLily Sampler. By 2000, a new full-length album was overdue, and Little Light has no problem living up to the promise of Jungle and Sky; if anything, it's slightly stronger. Like before, GrooveLily favors an introspective, poetic approach to pop/rock. Subtlety usually prevails on this CD and, although expressive, Vigoda doesn't beat you over the head to get her points across. But for all their subtle introspection, tracks like 'Captain of a Ship on Fire,' 'Weight of the World,' and 'Prayer for the Unrequited' are never wimpy; in GrooveLily's hands, sensitive doesn't mean wimpy or waifish. To her credit, Vigoda knows how to let her sensitivity show without coming across as a victim or a fragile waif. One of the most interesting, thought-provoking tracks is 'Little Nemesis,' which is about a woman showing different sides of herself in a relationship; the nice, congenial, girl next door usually prevails but the dominatrix occasionally needs to make her presence felt. Equally interesting is an unlikely and totally unexpected cover of Foreigner's 'I Want to Know What Love Is'; originally, the tune was a stereotypical 1980s power ballad, but GrooveLily increases the tempo and turns it into a mixture of adult alternative and reggae - sort of Sarah McLachlan or Paula Cole by way of Shaggy. Was Little Light worth the four-year wait? Absolutely. -- Alex Henderson, All-Music Guide, 2001 ------------------ 'Little Light,' produced by Alain Mallet and mixed by Michael Brauer, was originally released in 2000. It is re-released now (2004), as part of the GrooveLily 'Back Issue Series,' which currently also includes 'Inhabit My Heart' (Valerie Vigoda's solo CD from 1994), 'Jungle & Sky/GrooveLily Sampler' (GrooveLily, 1997-1998), and 'Brendan & The Extenuating Circumstances' (Brendan Milburn's solo CD from 1998). The CD contains several bonus tracks (four demos, including two previously unreleased songs, remastered by Neale Eckstein at Fox Run Studios), as well as access to a special, exclusive section of the GrooveLily website, featuring new liner notes, previously unseen photographs, documents, and journal entries. ------------------ 'Little Light,' GrooveLily. Much attention from this release will probably focus on the buzz cut, a reggae-flavored cover of the Foreigner standard, 'I Wanna Know What Love Is.' With a Caribbean bounce, a pair of rasta rappers and Valerie Vigoda's colorful vocal shadings, the mopey classic-rock staple is reborn as an exhilarating rave-up. But that's just the tip of the iceberg for a disc that explores many areas of pop music and is as unpredictable as it is enchanting. --'Spinning Top Dozen Discs From 2000' The Oswego Palladium-Times, December 2000 ------------------ 'I rarely hear people really use the lessons of Donald Fagen properly and originally.' --Jay Leonhart, on GrooveLily's new CD'Little Light', December 2000 ------------------ GrooveLily's new 12-song CD, 'Little Light,' is spirited pop with ingenuity and life-affirming messages -- without the bombast of a rock band. -- Barry Gramlich, The Bergen Record, 1/11/2002 ------------------ GrooveLily's smooth, sexy, cerebral sound - dreamy purees of rock, funk, soul and classical -- Leonard Jacobs, The Forward, 11/23/2001 ------------------ While Vigoda's soprano and songcraft occasionally suggest the influence of Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell and other folk-pop sirens, her band has developed a distinctly vibrant sound. -- Mike Joyce, The Washington Post, 1/18/2002 ------------------ Valerie Vigoda is a hero for classical musicians, like if Madonna took up the contrabassoon or Metallica hired an electric tuba player to replace Jason Newsted. -- Brian Truitt, The Journal Newspapers, 7/27/2001 ------------------ GrooveLily is a bright star on the musical horizon ... a welcome change from the dreariness of modern rock. -- Terri Lagerstedt, Westchester County Weekly, 7/5/2001 ------------------ The group's songs beckon listeners to take a step back from the humdrum of Top 40 tunes while also realizing life isn't all doom and gloom portrayed by grunge rock artists. -- Mike Shands, Ashe Mountain Times, 7/2001 ------------------ Even as 'Little Light' is out there as a possible record-company pickup with the potential for singles, such moments of creative integrity earn the band more respect than a Top 40 record ever could. -- Tim Nekritz, The Oswego Palladium-Times, 3/1/2001 ------------------ 'sophisticated ... with the class of a Swing Out Sister performance and the pop sensibility of Everything But The Girl ... plan on seeing GrooveLily's Little Light shine brightly in 2001.' -- Warren Kurtz, City Magazine, January 2001 ------------------ BAND BIOGRAPHY: 'Smart pop with consummate instrumental artistry.' -- The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI GrooveLily inhabits that contemporary space where creative musicians ignore the boundaries laid down by words like rock, folk, jazz, and pop. Intelligent original songs with no shortage of wit connect lush musical textures with the vocals and blazing electric violin of founding member Valerie Vigoda. With backgrounds in classical music, musical theater, jazz, and rock, the three members of GrooveLily are making a new music that's all their own. Valerie Vigoda, electric violinist and singer, is the founding member of GrooveLily. Originally from McLean, VA, Valerie is a classically-trained musician and an honors graduate of Princeton University. She has toured the world with Cyndi Lauper (opening for Tina Turner and Cher), Joe Jackson and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. A former Army lieutenant, Valerie stars with her bandmates in print and on TV in the ongoing 'Perseverance' ads for 'Today's Military.' She founded GrooveLily (originally 'The Valerie Vigoda Band') in 1994, with a critically acclaimed CD called 'Inhabit My Heart.' Dirty Linen Magazine wrote: 'to call Valerie Vigoda talented barely seems to do her justice. She has a great voice, is an intelligent lyricist...and an ace violinist. Methinks we'll hear more of her.' Brendan Milburn plays keyboards and sings. Before joining GrooveLily, he graduated from Pomona College and NYU's MFA program in Musical Theatre Writing. He does a lot of arranging for GrooveLily, and he's an accomplished record producer as well. He often yearns for his native San Francisco. Seth Rogovoy wrote: '...Milburn was a deft pianist, his nimble fingerwork doing double-duty as the band's bassist and provider of it's harmonic foundation, delivered with the jazzy sophistication of Steely Dan's Donald Fagen and the rock and roll theatrics of Billy Joel.' Gene Lewin plays the drums and sings, and hails from Princeton, NJ. Like many of his heroes (Jack DeJohnette, Russ Kunkel, Vinnie Colaiuta), Gene joyfully blurs the lines between jazz and rock, supporting and complementing the music but unafraid to instigate when the time is right. After graduating from Princeton University, Gene earned a Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He has appeared on CDs with George Coleman, John Patitucci, and many others. 'His gift lies in his frenzied dynamo attack of cymbals and skins. Think Tony Williams sits in with Weather Report.' (Mark Corroto, All About Jazz)
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