Al Kooper's 'Cream of the Musical Crop' (Boston Herald)
"I'm a fan!" - Al Kooper
"...one of this city's smartest and catchiest pop songwriters...contemplative lyrics and intimately affecting vocals" -- LA Weekly
“The pop doesn’t get much smoother or cooler ...From the toe-tapping groove of “Au Revoir, My Darling” to the multi-layered beauty of “Kaleidoscope Heart” – Anny and her supporting cast of All-Stars deliver the hits in spades. Chill out through the Summer doldrums with this nine-pack of goodness from the “Queen of Cool-Pop” -- SHOCKPOP!
“….it’s just the perfect music; all summery, sunshine pop with gorgeous harmonies abounding…this rootsy, pop-flavoured collection of self-penned songs is a genuine winner.” – Maverick Magazine
“…familiar styles -sunshine pop, country flavored rock -but done with a fresh approach and melodies that sound like instant hits.” – Cabin Essence
“Zelden straalt een album zo’n karakter uit. ‘January’ is een veelzijdig album dat ook heel wat Americana liefhebbers zal bekoren.” – Keys and Chords
"songs for which the phrase 'perfect pop song' was invented.” –- Rootstime
“Anny Celsi…has been churning out first-class handmade music with songs that run deep enough to appeal to the folk & roots crowd while the arrangements are a far cry from morose traditionalism. With her mellifluous, well-tempered voice with a subtle hint of melancholia, Celsi draws us in while her poetic lyrics touch upon travel experiences, relationships and personal matters…an original artist with a unique sound.” – Chill@Blue Rose
"The best album of the last five years!" - Terry Rawlings, author of "Who Killed Christopher Robin?"
“… Byrdsian jangle and exquisite psyche-pop harmonies perfect for a long car ride…Fans of classic sixties pop influences should pick this one up right away.” – Aaron Kupferberg, Powerpopaholic
"Think of Victoria Williams, Aimee Mann, Suzanne Vega and Sheryl Crow mixed together and you begin to get the picture...Anny is pretty much their equal as a songwriter." -- Two Louies
"...a beatnik-cool performer who veers from poppy, bouncy beats to jazzy piano bar riffs and sexy come-ons... she’s sensitive but no wimp and a fellow traveler to Aimee Mann and Sheryl Crow. The “pop-noir” soundtrack of her solo debut, “Little Black Dress,” wears a veneer of L.A. Confidential style." -- Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press
The pop doesn’t get much smoother or cooler than on Ms. Celsi’s new CD, “January.” From the toe-tapping groove of “Au Revoir, My Darling” to the multi-layered beauty of “Kaleidoscope Heart” – Anny and her supporting cast of All-Stars deliver the hits in spades. Chill out through the Summer doldrums with this nine-pack of goodness from the “Queen of Cool-Pop” – Anny Celsi!
Sparky Shockpop - Shockpop! (Jul 31, 2013)
It’s one of the hottest days of the year as I’m sitting here listening to this latest album by California-based Anny Celsi, and it’s just the perfect music; all summery, sunshine pop with gorgeous harmonies abounding. A regular visitor to the UK, she’s building a sizeable following and this rootsy, pop-flavoured collection of self-penned songs is a genuine winner. I loved the gorgeous Ghosts in the Room, with its infectious guitar lines, lush violin, accordion, trumpet and Anny’s heartfelt vocal. There’s just one outside song, Steve Forbert’s Wait, which Anny completely owns with a wondrous arrangement. FOUR STARS
Alan Cackett - Maverick Magazine (Sep 1, 2013)
From the infectious pop-styled flow of “Au Revoir, My Darling” to the whimsical ’60s pop of “Travelogue” and Baroque folk nugget “Sank Without a Bubble,” there is winning blend of retro sonics and contemporary influences across Anny Celsi’s “January.” Whether tackling confessional folk rock (the toy piano-colored “Oh Baby, Is the Circus Back in Town?) or an effective cover of Steve Forbert’s “Wait,” there is a range and depth here equaled by the sheer joy of the performances.
You might like if you enjoy: Susanna Hoffs’ 2012 album “Someday,” Aimee Mann
Robert Kinsler - Music News Nashville (Jul 30, 2013)
This is yet another nugget from the US pop underground as songstress Anny Celsi provides classic pop fans with a collection of erudite songwriting. Fans of Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Suzanne Vega and Jackie DeShannon will find much to enjoy on Janaury, Celsi’s latest work. Backed by some of the scene’s outstanding musicians, the tracks on January turn back the clock to a time when pop music was taken seriously: The ’60s and ’70s. There is a rustic and tender ambience that pervades this release with a strong country and folk vibe running through gorgeous songs like Travelogue, Ghosts In The Room and Sank Without A Bubble. Elsewhere, female-fronted ’60s pop get a generous airing with tunes like the sprightly Au Revoir My Darling and the emotional balladic Wait. Above all, Celsi’s soothing voice delivers a relaxed mood as a melancholy tone is conjured by lyrical concepts.
Kevin Mathews - Today Online (Jun 29, 2013)
(Songwriter/Pop/Folk Rock) 2013 Ragazza - gleich mit den ersten Akkorden des Openers 'Au Revoir, My Darling' ist mal wieder klar: Singer/Songwriter aus Kalifornien unterscheiden sich enorm vom Rest des Americana-Geschehens, besonders im Vergleich zu all den vielen Künstlern aus Austin und Nashville, die zumindest quantitativ die Szene zu dominieren scheinen. Anny Celsi aus Los Angeles ist seit vielen Jahren ein gutes Beispiel für eine erstklassig handgemachte Musik, bei der die Songs genügend Tiefgang besitzen, um von der kritischen Folk/Roots-Gemeinde ernst genommen zu werden, die Arrangements aber gar nicht in verbissen-traditioneller Wurzelnähe verharren, sondern die gewisse Leichtigkeit von Westcoast Pop ausstrahlen, in ihrem Abwechslungsreichtum dazu auch etwas Motown Soul, Folk Noir, Country Rock, Paisley Psych, Jangle Pop und die große, zeitlose Melodie à la Bacharach/David und Goffin/King sowieso streifen. Ja, da werden selige Erinnerungen an die Mamas & Papas, Jackie DeShannon, Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys, an die Beach Boys und Dusty Springfield geweckt, andererseits steckt Celsi natürlich mitten im aktuellen Zeitgeist - Kolleginnen wie Neko Case, Aimee Mann, Zoe Muth, Nikki Bluhm oder Eleni Mandell fallen mir dazu ein, auch Grey DeLisle, die bereits ganz früh in 2002 ihren wahrscheinlich bekanntesten Song 'Twas Her Hunger Brought Me Down' coverte. Aber all diese Vergleiche dienen nur der ungefähren Beschreibung. Mit ihrer geschmeidigen, wohl temperierten Stimme und einem zwar nie dominanten, aber unterschwellig mitschwingenden Melancholiefaktor vermittelt Celsi auf Anhieb hohe Sympathiewerte, ihre in poetischen Lyrics verpackten Themen handeln von Erlebnissen vieler Reisen, Begegnungen mit interessanten Leuten, persönlich-privaten Befindlichkeiten (die einzige Fremdkomposition, Steve Forbert's 'Wait', fügt sich da übrigens sehr gut ein). Ich will damit sagen: Anny Celsi ist eine spannende, charaktervolle Type mit ganz eigener Note! Die sich stets viel Zeit lässt für etwas Neues. So ist 'January' erst ihr drittes Album nach 'Little Black Dress & Other Stories' (2003) und 'Tangle-Free World' (2009), das - wie das Debüt - wieder in enger Zusammenarbeit mit Kevin Jarvis (Sessions für Steve Wynn, Lucinda Williams, Ramsay Midwood, Grant-Lee Phillips, Mark Olson und seinen 2009 verstorbenen Bruder Duane) als Produzent, Recording Engineer und Drummer entstanden ist. Darüberhinaus belegt die beeindruckende Liste der Studiomusiker ein weiteres Mal, wie exzellent vernetzt Anny Celsi innerhalb des kulturellen Schmelztiegels von L.A. ist: So hören wir Doug Freeman (Doozy), Singer/Songwriter-Gefährte Rich McCulley und Kirk Swan (Ex-Dumptruck, Steve Wynn) an den akustischen und elektrischen Gitarren, Paul Laques (I See Hawks In L.A.) an der Pedal Steel, Carl Byron (Anne McCue, Marvin Etzioni, Snakehandlers) mit Keyboards, Vibes und Akkordion, die Bassisten Jason Chesney (Old Californio, Dave Gleason) und Bobby McDonald (Carla Olson, Duane Jarvis) sowie in Nebenrollen Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson Band, Negro Problem, Produzent von 'Tangle-Free World' und häufiger Tourbegleiter von Celsi) und den Team-Backing-Chor von Adam Marsland's Chaos Band (Marsland, Teresa Cowles und die oberkultige Evie Sands!). Celsi's Sohn Ivan Pyzow übernimmt erstmalig die Funktion als Arrangeur für gezielte Streicher-, Bläser- und Choreinsätze, verleiht zudem einigen Tracks das gewisse Etwas mit Klavier, Trompete, Glockenspiel oder Autoharp.
The first notes of album opener „Au revoir, My Darling“ once again supply proof that singer-songwriters from California are a different breed than Americana artists from Austin or Nashville. Anny Celsi from L.A. is an excellent example of an artist who has been churning out first-class handmade music with songs that run deep enough to appeal to the folk & roots crowd while the arrangements are a far cry from morose traditionalism. Instead there are touches of easy-going pop, Motown soul, folk noir, country rock, paisley psych, jangle pop and timeless melodies reminiscent of Bacharach/David or Goffin King.
Her songs seem to conjure the ghosts of The Mamas & The Papas, Jackie DeShannon, Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Ponys, the Beach Boys and Dusty Springfield on the one hand while Celsi is obviously hip to the zeitgeist and the work of her colleagues - Neko Case, Aimee Mann, Zoe Muth, Nikki Bluhm and Eleni Mandell come to mind. And Grey DeLisle who covered Celsi’s perhaps best-known song ‘Twas Her Hunger Brought Me Down early on in 2002. With her mellifluous, well-tempered voice with a subtle hint of melancholia Celsi draws us in while her poetic lyrics touch upon travel experiences, relationships and personal matters. The album’s only outside composition, Steve Forbert’s Wait, fits right in. What I’m trying to say: Anny Celsi is an original artist with a unique sound.
She likes to take her time between albums. “January” is her third album after “Little Black Dress & Other Stories (2003) and “Tangle-Free World” (2009) and like her debut it’s the result of a close collaboration with Kevin Jarvis (known from sessions with Steve Wynn, Lucinda Williams, Ramsay Midwood, Grant-Lee Phillips, Mark Olson and his brother Duane who passed away in 2009) who played drums, engineered and co-produced. The impressive list of contributing musicians shows the esteem in which Celsi is held in L.A. circles: We get to hear Doug Freeman (Doozy), singer-songwriter colleague Rich McCulley and Kirk Swan (Ex-Dumptruck, Steve Wynn) on acoustic & electric guitars, Paul Laques (I See Hawks In L.A.) on pedal steel, Carl Byron (Anne McCue, Marvin Etzioni, Snakehandlers) on keyboards, vibes and accotdion, bass players Jason Chesney (Old Californio, Dave Gleason) and Bobby McDonald (Carla Olson, Duane Jarvis) as well Nelson Bragg (Brian Wilson Band, Negro Problem, producer of 'Tangle-Free World' and Celsi’s frequent touring companion) and the backing vocal team of Adam Marsland's Chaos Band (Marsland, Teresa Cowles and Evie Sands!). Celsi’s son Ivan Pyzow arranged strings, horns and backing vocals and contributes piano, trumpet, glockenspiel and autoharp.
(translation: Markus Rill)
Thomas Dewers - Chill@ Blue Rose Records (Jun 10, 2013)
Bij Anny Celsi denk ik aan twee dingen. Ik denk aan haar debuut cd "Little Black Dress & Other Stories", die halverwege de jaren 2000 de start had moeten zijn van een hele mooie en glanzende carrière. Dit album eerst uitgebracht in eigen beheer in 2003 kreeg gelukkig een tweede kans via het Taxim label, die deze plaat terug uit bracht in 2006. Maar eerder in 2004 was ze reeds te zien tijdens het Blue Highways Festival in het Nederlandse Utrecht. Maar ik dacht ook aan "Tangle-Free World" haar tweede album uit 2009, een plaat die al snel uit wist te groeien tot de soundtrack van een mooie reis door het Zuiden van de Verenigde Staten. Onlangs verscheen haar nieuwe zelf geproduceerde album "January", en is een plaat geworden die net als al zijn voorgangers, direct weet op te vallen door de krachtige en uit duizenden herkenbare stem van Anny Celsi, en daarom vergelijkingen oproept met o.a. Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams en Suzanne Vega, allemaal songwriters die zich onderscheiden door hun literaire stem die voor de luisteraar net zo essentieel is dan hun zangstem.
"January" sluit voor een belangrijk deel aan op de voorgangers en dat is een verstandige keuze. Juist in warmbloedige en authentieke aandoende singer-songwriter muziek weet Anny Celsi zich immers te onderscheiden van de meeste van haar concurrenten. Dat doet ze voor een belangrijk deel met haar fantastische stem, maar ook de kwaliteit van de songs en de veelzijdigheid van de instrumentatie dragen nadrukkelijk bij aan de schoonheid van "January", waardoor het een vol en bij vlagen zelfs een groots klinkende plaat is geworden. Bij het maken van "Januari", heeft Anny de hulp gekregen van grote muzikale talenten uit Los Angeles. Vooreerst is er Kevin Jarvis, een gerespecteerd producer en drummer die o.a. heeft gespeeld met Ben Vaughn, Shawn Mullins, Lucinda Williams, John Wesley Harding en Grant Lee Phillips. Op dit album was hij niet alleen de drummer, maar samen met Anny zijn ze de producers van dit nieuwe album, waarvan de negen gebrachte songs als "pop-noir' worden omschreven. Andere bijdragen zijn er van o.a. Kirk Swan (Kipper), Carl Byron (Michelle Shocked, Jim Lauderdale), Paul Lacques (I See Hawks in LA) en Nelson Bragg, de percussionist/vocalist van The Brian Wilson Band en The Beach Boys. Bij het beluisteren ging voornamelijk ook onze aandacht naar Anny's zoon Ivan Pyzow, die we niet alleen horen als backing vocals, maar door zijn inbreng op trompet en piano de vocale arrangementen soms dat Motown en New Orleans jazzy gevoel meegeven. De keuze voor een behoorlijk vol en rijk geluid is een verstandige keuze geweest, want de stem van Anny Celsi komt hierin veel beter tot zijn recht dan in een sobere setting. Het is raar, maar wanneer "Januari" uit de speakers komt waan ik me direct weer op de Amerikaanse highways en trekken indrukwekkende landschappen aan me voorbij. Op hetzelfde moment is "Januari" ook een plaat vol emotie, die het uitstekend doet wanneer de zon onder is, maar de dag nog niet voorbij is.
De songs van Anny Celsi vallen dus op door mooie harmonieën, aanstekelijke refreinen, een lekker volle instrumentatie waarin de gitaren domineren en natuurlijk haar uit duizenden herkenbare stemgeluid. De songs bijna allemaal geschreven door Celsi, maken niet alleen onmiddellijk indruk, maar blijven bovendien aangenaam hangen en laten ook nog eens nieuwe dingen horen bij iedere volgende luisterbeurt. Zo zingt ze over geesten die in de hoeken van de Franse wijk van New Orleans ronddwalen, de wind die het stof van de vulkaan uit IJsland meebrengt, jongeren die hunkeren naar het circus en de raadselachtige scherven van ons eigen gebroken glazen hart, en dit allemaal samen geweven in een reisverslag dat niet alleen risico met zich meebrengt, maar vooral vernieuwing. Het zijn popsongs waarvoor ooit eens het predicaat 'perfecte popsong' is uitgevonden. Celsi beheerst het schrijven van deze perfecte popsongs nog altijd tot in de perfectie en levert met "Januari" voor mij als Anny Celsi fan van het eerste uur een prachtplaat af maar ik denk dat dit geldt voor vrijwel iedere liefhebber van vrouwelijke singer-songwriters.
By Anny Celsi I think of two things. I think of her debut album "Little Black Dress & Other Stories", in the mid-2000s should have been the start of a beautiful and brilliant career. This first album released independently in 2003 got lucky a second chance through the Taxim label, this album brought back from in 2006. But she was already shown at the Blue Highways Festival in Utrecht Dutch. Earlier in 2004 But I also thought of "Tangle-Free World," her second album in 2009, a record that already quickly managed to become the soundtrack of a beautiful journey through the South of the United States. Recently her new self-produced album "January", and has become an album that like all his predecessors, know instantly get noticed by the powerful and from thousands recognizable voice of Anny Celsi, and therefore evokes comparisons with such Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams and Suzanne Vega, all songwriters who have made their literary voice that the listener is as essential than their singing voice.
Close "January" to a large extent to the pastors and that is a wise choice. Especially in warm-blooded and authentic-looking singer-songwriter music knows Anny Celsi is indeed indistinguishable from most of its competitors. She does that to a large extent with her fantastic voice, but also the quality of the songs and the versatility of the instrumentation contribute strongly to the beauty of "January", making it a full and at times even a great sounding board has become . In making "January", Anny has received the support of great musical talents from Los Angeles. First, there is Kevin Jarvis, a respected producer and drummer who has played with include Ben Vaughn, Shawn Mullins, Lucinda Williams, John Wesley Harding and Grant Lee Phillips. On this album he was not only the drummer but along with Anny they are the producers of this new album, which produced nine songs as "pop-noir" are defined. Other contributions are of such Kirk Swan (Tipper), Carl Byron (Michelle Shocked, Jim Lauderdale), Paul Lacques (I See Hawks in LA) and Nelson Bragg, the percussionist / vocalist of The Brian Wilson Band and The Beach Boys. When listening was mainly our attention to Anny's son Ivan Pyzow, we hear not only as backing vocals, but his input on trumpet and piano vocal arrangements that sometimes Motown and New Orleans jazzy feeling imparting. Choosing a pretty full and rich sound has been a wise choice, because the voice of Anny celsi herein is much better advantage than in a sober setting. It's weird, but when "January" comes from the speakers I imagine myself right back on U.S. highways and attract impressive scenery passing me. At the same time, "January "a plate full of emotion, which makes it excellent when the sun is down, but the day is not over yet.
The songs of Anny Celsi so stand out with beautiful harmonies, catchy choruses, a nice full instrumentation, where the guitars dominate and natural hair from thousands recognizable voice. The songs are almost all written by Celsi, not only make an immediate impression, but are also pleasant to hang and also another new things with every subsequent listen. They sing about ghosts wandering in the corners of the French Quarter of New Orleans, the wind that the dust from the volcano in Iceland brings, young people who crave the circus and the enigmatic shards of our own broken glass heart, and all this woven together in a travelogue that not only entails risk, but especially innovation. These are pop songs which once the predicate 'perfect pop song' was invented. Celsi mastered writing this perfect pop songs still to perfection and delivers with "January" for me as Anny Celsi fan of the first hour a stunner off but I think this applies to almost every fan of female singer-songwriters.
Freddy Celis - Rootstime (May 15, 2013)
Net geen drie jaar geleden waren wij reeds sterk onder de indruk van de release ‘Tangle-Free World’, de bevestigende follow-up van het succesvolle album ‘Little Back Dress and Other Stories’. Beide albums lagen dan ook sterk in de lijn van de grote country folk en rock leading lady’s. ‘January’ is het vierde album voor Anny Celsi dat in eigen beheer wordt uitgebracht. Met acht zelfgepende nummers kroont Anny zichzelf tot een uitstekend singer-songwriter. Enkel ‘Wait’ leende ze voor de gelegenheid bij Steve Forbert. Iedere song is alweer een novelle dat op heerlijke muzikale arrangementen is neergepoot. Haar literaire stembereik is dus net zo belangrijk als de uitgebreide instrumentatie. Het schijfje opent met ‘Au Revoir, My Darling’. Met moderne schikkingen, handgeklap, orkestrale meesterwerken en schitterende backingvocals kleemt het nummer meteen heel wat radio airplay. De opvolgende track ‘Travelogue’ heeft iets magisch. Vooral Stan Behrens’ fluit eist zowaar een hoofdrol. ‘Ghosts In The Room’ laat ons kennis maken met alle uithoeken van de French Quarter in New Orleans. Het heeft hemelse vioolarrangementen die worden opgefleurd door Carl Byron’s accordeon, Ivan Pyzow’s trompet en de akoestische en elektrische snaren van Rich McCulley. ‘Oh Baby, Is The Cicus Back In Town?’ en de cover ‘Wait’ zijn smoothy ballades waar nogmaals duidelijk wordt welk melancholisch stembereik Anny uitspreid. Doug Freeman en Anny’s akoestische gitaarsound vormen in ‘Kaleidoscope’ een perfect huwelijk met het elektrische snareninstrument van Kirk Swan. Het popgevoelige ‘Sank Without A Bubble’ heeft oog voor rijkelijke details, net zoals de zoete tonen van het country en folk gevoelige ‘Citybird’. Zelden straalt een album zo’n karakter uit. ‘January’ is een veelzijdig album dat ook heel wat Americana liefhebbers zal bekoren.
Almost three years ago we were already highly impressed with the release 'Tangle-Free World', the confirmatory follow-up to the successful album 'Little Back Dress and Other Stories'. Both albums were also strongly than in the line of the great country folk and rock leading lady's.'January' is the fourth album for Anny Celsi being delivered in-house. With eight zelfgepende numbers Anny crowns himself an excellent singer-songwriter. Only 'Wait' lent them for the occasion by Steve Forbert. Each song is another story that wonderful musical arrangements is planted down. Her literary voice range is just as important as the extensive instrumentation. The disc opens with "Au Revoir, My Darling". With modern settlements, clapping, orchestral masterpieces and gorgeous backing vocals kleemt the number immediately a lot of radio airplay. The subsequent track 'Travelogue' has something magical. Especially Stan Behrens' flute actually requires a key. 'Ghosts In The Room "introduces us to all corners of the French Quarter in New Orleans. It's heavenly violin arrangements that are brightened by Carl Byron's accordion, Ivan Pyzow's trumpet and acoustic and electric strings Rich McCulley. "Oh Baby, Is The Cicus Back In Town? ' And cover' Wait 'are smoothy ballads where again it is clear what melancholic vocal range Anny Spreading. Doug Freeman and Anny's acoustic guitar sound forms in 'Kaleidoscope' a perfect marriage with the electric string instrument Kirk Swan. The popgevoelige 'SankWithout A Bubble' has an eye for rich details, like the sweet tones of the country and folk sensitive 'City Bird'. Rarely an album exudes such character. 'January' is a versatile album that many Americana enthusiasts will delight.
Philip Verhaege - Keys and Chords (May 15, 2013)
January is a month of new beginnings, as well as endings, and sometimes a massive post-festive comedown, but for Anny Celsi, it is one of musical consolidation. There are familiar styles -sunshine pop, country flavored rock -but done with a fresh approach and melodies that sound like instant hits.
Au Revoir, My Darling kicks off the album with a instant classic pop sound that will soon playing over in your head, while Travelogue evokes the romanticism of travel. Ghosts In The Room has a fantastic horn-driven production, while Wait is achingly beautiful and the closer Citybird has country leanings but a great understated pop sound.
It’s another great record for Anny Celsi -you can buy the album on her website, and you should also check out her back catalogue
Andrew Gladwin - Cabin Essence (May 21, 2013)
Si il faut en croire Anny..." I'm the one-woman suspension bridge between pop geek and Americana purist.”, et effectivement les chroniques élogieuses fourmillent lors de l'analyse des deux efforts précédents: ...Anny sounds old-fashioned in the very best sense of the word..../ ...Her lyrics are sharp-edged, ironic, cutting, and always memorable.../... Tangle-Free World, is voer voor liefhebbers van verzorgde Amerikaanse kwaliteitspop, hier en daar roept het vergelijkingen met een groep als The Bangles op ... etc.
La native de Portland devenue Californienne est loin d'être une novice sur la scène musicale, à la fin des eighties , un boy/girl poprock bandThe Tearjerkers (Anny Celsi (vocals), Danette Christine (vocals), Allison MacLeod (vocals, qui fera une carrière de singer/songwriter), Bruce Kaplan (guitar), Mark Wagner (drums), Cynthia Jones (vocals)) , puis Annyland, un album ' She walks in' en 1996, d'autres rencontres, d'autres aventures avant le premier CD à son nom.
C'est au Toogenblik, en 2010, que tu vois Anny Celsi sur scène, à l'époque elle tournait avec band ( featuring e.a. Nelson Bragg), une révélation!
January sur la platine!
'Au revoir, my darling', de généreux popbeats, handclappings, instrumentation riche, where The Beach Boys meet Phil Spector.
Le résultat: unsunshine pop track rayonnant, mention spéciale pour l'orgue de Carl Byron (Michelle Shocked, Warren Zevon, Lynn Anderson...).
Changement de registre avec la romance folky 'Travelogue', la flûte aérienne de Stan Behrens ( Canned Heat) batifolant au gré d'une brise légère .
'Ghosts in the room' , direction la New-Orleans, une romance décorée, French quarter oblige, d' unaccordéon frivole, puis d'une superbe envolée de la trompette du fils d'Anny, Ivan Pyzow, sans oublier des cordes célestes et survolant le tout, la voix à la fois douce et soulful de Miss Celsi!
Time for a blue ballad d'un classicisme serein, 'Oh Baby, is the circus back in town?', une esthétique Gillian Welch, Eilen Jewell, Allison Moorer... ce qui se fait de mieux en female alt.country.
'Kaleidoscope Heart', a lovesong portée par les guitaresde Doug Freeman et Kirk Swan et dotée de backing vocals enchanteurs.
Un bel exemple de jangle pop proche des Byrds, Anny préfère, toutefois, l'étiquette 'pop noir'.
Le midtempo 'Sank without a bubble', s'apparente à la pop de Sheryl Crow ou Natalie Imbruglia, il est soutenu par un piano omniprésent, quant à la cover' Wait', elle nous rappelle à quel point Steve Forbert est un compositeur injustement méconnu.
On the country tour avec la pedal steel de Paul Lacques, ' Christmas in the Pines', le voyage prend fin avec ' Citybird', aux touches country folk prenant une teinte enfantine grâce au glockenspiel que taquineIvan Pyzow.
'January', un superbe objet!
If she is to be believed, Anny says: "I'm the one-woman suspension bridge between Pop Geeks and Americana Purist", and there are chronic raves abound in the analysis of her two previous efforts. Anny sounds old fashioned in the very best sense of the word. Her lyrics are sharp-edged, ironic, cutting, and always memorable. Tangle-Free World is food for lovers of the slick quality pop of yesterday since it calls for comparisons with groups like The Bangles, etc.
A native of Portland, Anny became a Californian and is far from being a novice to that music scene. In the late eighties, a girl band, The Tearjerkers played pop rock and featured Anny Celsi (vocals), Danette Christine (vocals) and Allison MacLeod (vocals), Who will make a career at singer/songwriting...!?! Bruce Kaplan (guitar), Mark Wagner (drums) and Cynthia Jones (vocals), then joined Anny for her Annyland album in 1996. There were other meetings and other adventures before her first CD with her name on it, 'She Walks In' arrived in 2001.
At Toogenblik in Brussels in 2010, we see Anny Celsi on stage. At the time she toured with a band (featuring among others, Nelson Bragg), it was a revelation!
Now "January" is on the stage!
"Au Revoir, My Darling" has generous pop beats, hand clapping and rich instrumentation. It's where The Beach Boys meet Phil Spector. The result is a radiant sunshine pop track. Special mention should go, for the organ, to Carl Byron (Michelle Shocked, Warren Zevon, Lynn Anderson)
Now, see a change with the romantic, folky "Travelogue" with flute by Stan Behrens (Canned Heat) frolicking with the option of a light breeze.
"Ghosts In The Room", moves towards New Orleans with it's romantic and decorated French Quarter featuring a frivolous accordion and a beautiful, soaring trumpet by Anny's son Ivan Pyzow, not to mention the heavenly strings flying with the voice, both sweet and soulful, of Miss Celsi!
Time for a blue ballad of a serene classicism. 'Oh Baby, Is The Circus Back In Town?" comes with the aesthetic of Gillian Welch, Eilen Jewell and Allison Moorer, which are the best in female alt.country!
"Kaleidoscope Heart", is a love song driven by the guitars of Doug Freeman and Kirk Swan and features very enchanting backing vocals. Though it's a good example of close Byrds jangle pop, Anny, however, prefers the "Dark Pop" label.
The mid-tempo "Sank Without A Bubble"is similar to the pop of Sheryl Crow and Natalie Imbruglia and is supported by an omnipresent piano. With her cover of "Wait", we are reminded of how Steve Forbert is a composer unfairly unknown.
On the country side, we have the pedal steel of Paul Lacques (I See Hawks In L.A.) on "Christmas in the Pines". The journey ends with "Citybird" which also holds the key to country-folk and features her son, Ivan Pyzow, teasing us with colorful glockenspiel.
"January" is a beautiful object !
Michel Preumont - Review des concerts (Jun 4, 2013)
It’s June, the album’s called January and there’s a track on it titled Christmas In The Pines. But who cares about the calendar, a new album from Celsi is welcome whatever the time of year.
She’s in melodically jaunty mood for a collection that once again mixes together 60s pop and country-tinged folk, though the emphasis is rather more on the former this time around. The ‘leaving in the morning’ Au Revoir, My Darling gets the ball rolling with a bouncy Motown beat, liberally splashed with horns, before the acoustic strum of Travelogue with its trilling flute intro offers a summery shuffling chug about life on the road and living at the airport waiting for the wind to change (the song was written about being grounded because of the volcanic ash out of Iceland) as a metaphor for relationships.
Visiting the French Quarter of New Orleans, twangy guitar bows in the musically deceptive Ghosts In The Room featuring trumpet solo by son Ivan Pyzow while the remaining upbeat tunes are supplied by the piano-accompanied Sank Without A Bubble, another lost hearts number, and, a Paul Simon-esque rhythm shuffling along on brushed snare, piano, viola and ukulele, the closing Citybird offers observation on the tough wings needed for urban living. Of the slower material, Oh Baby, Is The Circus Back In Town? is a lovely soulful, Celtic stroked ballad about chasing dreams and Kaleidoscope Heart a waltzing song about love as glass shards, beautiful but sharp while Wait is a cover of Steve Forbert’s hard times prayer for the lost and lonely she used to sing to her son as a lullaby, arranged as a Brill Building styled piano ballad.
Being totally honest, I don’t think it’s quite as strong or as musically expansive overall as Tangle-Free World or Little Black Dress, but there’s certainly sufficient stand-out moments to ensure it’s a month to remember.
Mike Davies - Netrhythms (Jun 20, 2013)
Tangle-Free World - Reviews
Fans of the US Pop Underground will not need to think too much about what to do with this wonderfully 60’s pop-channeling delight. Celsi (pronounced Chelsea) has spared no effort in realizing the pure pop perfection required to present her faithful 60’s pop creations. To that end, she enlisted the services of producer Nelson Bragg (whose impressive credentials include playing in Brian Wilson’s touring band!) and pop underground stalwarts as session players. Those firmly ‘in the know’ would no doubt recognize the likes of Probyn Gregory (Wondermints), Rick Gallego (aka Cloud Eleven), Robbie Rist, Steve Refling, (the late) Amy Farris, Nick Walusko (Wondermints), Adam Marsland and Evie Sands, among the credits listing. All of which contributes to a heavenly concoction of 60’s country and folk rock as well as soulful balladry that reflects the heavy influence of many of the classic 60’s bands and artists but most particularly, The Byrds and Dusty Springfield. This is a glorious and lovingly crafted tribute to an era that continues to resonate to this day. In an age of throwaway dance anthems and cookie-cutter R’n’B, it is refreshing to have dedicated artists and musicians remind us of the beauty and wonder of what pop music once was in its heyday. That such wondrous music can still be re-created in our modern times gives me hope and encouragement for the future. So, kudos to Anny Celsi and Nelson Bragg for keeping the dream well and truly alive.
Kevin Mathews - Bucketfull o' Brains
This one’s been out for a while, but due to a variety of reasons that I won’t bore you with here, I didn’t have the opportunity to properly make Tangle Free World’s acquaintance until relatively recently. Had I been able to give it a proper listen sooner, however, it definitely would have earned a place in my 2009 year-end top 10. Produced for the most part by the ridiculously talented singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Nelson Bragg (from Brian Wilson’s band), TFW is jam packed with tuneful, heartfelt gems that run the stylistic gamut from jangle-pop to lite soul with slight detours into folk and ’60s girl group goodness.
The one constant that ties the package together is Anny Celsi’s beautifully expressive voice, which is at once sweet and soulful, with a depth and richness that eludes many singers. Whether the tunes are brisk (such as the disc-opening title track, which is highlighted by a wonderful backing vocal arrangement courtesy of LA-area musician Adam Marsland) or downcast (the Stax love letter “Now You Can Hurt Me”), Celsi puts ‘em across with equal verve and style.
Bragg’s production is sympathetic, allowing Celsi’s voice to take center stage among layers of instrumentation that include strings, horns, various keyboards, slide and pedal steel guitar, sitar and more. Bragg and Celsi employ a bit of Brian Wilson-esque lushness on one of their two co-writes here, the simply gorgeous “Own Sweet Time.” While Bragg strums 12-string acoustic and electric guitars and lays down the backbeat, Probyn Gregory (another LA session cat) adds some sweet-sounding trumpet flourishes, fluid bass runs and a nice, George Harrison-inspired slide guitar bit at the song’s closing. Toss in stately keyboards, a lovely string arrangement (all played by the late Amy Farris) and ever-so-sweet backing vocals by Celsi and Teresa Cowles and you have the perfect complement to Celsi’s perfect lead vocal, which is equal parts innocence and sadness. The other Bragg/Celsi songwriting collaboration, the touching “First Love Freezes,” might just be the best thing here, with its gentle, flowing melody supplanted by another 5-star Celsi vocal and cascading guitars and strings.
While Bragg duets with Celsi on a cover of Lee Hazlewood’s ’60s chestnut “Some Velvet Morning” and the rest of the tunes feature the aformentioned backing musicians and others of equal talent (including Scott Bennett and Nick Walusko from Brian Wilson’s band, jack-of-all-musical-trades Robbie Rist, Evie Sands and Cloud Eleven’s Rick Gallego), the true stars of the show are Anny Celsi’s alluring voice and her straight-from-the-heart songs. Visit www.annycelsi.com for more info.
John Borack - Goldmine (Jun 5, 2010)
If you combine equal parts of Laurie Biagini and The Gripweeds Kristin Pinell, you may likely end up with Anny Celsi. Anny Celsi is a west coast musician with links to Brian Wilson band alum Nelson Bragg, who produced the album. The title track is a good example of the Byrdsian jangle and exquisite psyche-pop harmonies perfect for a long car ride. Anny's follow up song "Thanksgiving In Hollywood" starts slow but grows to a rich folk tapestry of guitars, and then she does a country ballad on "First Love Freezes" with a melancholy, but beautiful vocal lead. The Motown soul balladry of "Now You Can Hurt Me" is a nice change of pace here, that compares well with those classic girl groups of the 60's. A bit of Bacharach styled pop is visible on "Own Sweet Time," and it's a gorgeous tune but I expected Anny to belt this one out, and her voice just stays too gentle and sweet here. A cover of Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra's "Some Velvet Morning" (with Bragg and additional members of Brian Wilson's band) is so effective, I would be really cool with a full album of this type of material (okay guys, get to work). Another highlight here is the strong hook of "Piece of Heaven," full of jangle guitars and floating background harmonies. Anny is super talented here and the production work is superb as well. Fans of classic sixties pop influences should pick this one up right away.
"Though this came out last summer, it's too good for us to have ignored, so here goes. Hailing from sunny California, Anny Celsi is a stunning singer-songwriter steeped in the traditions of Jackie DeShannon, Suzanne Vega and Nicolette Larson. Though she is more classic pop than country or rootsy, I have a feeling that a good many Maverick readers will readily embrace this excellent album. She has surrounded herself with some crack West Coast sessioneers including Brian Wilson band members Probyn Gregory, Scott Bennett and Nick Walusko, keyboardist Carl Bryon and the late Amy Farris. There is a stunning revival of Lee Hazlewood's Some Velvet Morning with producer Nelson Bragg's vocal proving to be the perfect evocative counterfoil to Anny and Sally Go Round the Roses featuring Evie Sands. The rest are all Anny's originals, and they don't come much better than Now You Can Hurt Me, which could have been a 1960's DeShannon classic or the country-flavoured First Love Freezes with its Byrds-vibe and lush string arrangement. Yeah, seek out and enjoy."
Alan Cackett - Maverick Magazine (U.K.)
Anny Celsi's new disc may be a "tangle-free world" but it's certainly not a jangle-free one as she evokes a Byrds-by-way-of-Beach-Boys sound here. The LA jangle-pop mafia is out in full force on this, with Nelson Bragg producing and the likes of The Wondermints, Robbie Rist and Adam Marsland contributing. The opening title track captures the sound here, 12-string guitars and sitars galore, with Celsi's voice a perfect match for the proceedings. "Thanksgiving in Hollywood" has just the kind of noir-ish jangle feel that recalls "King of the Hill", Roger McGuinn's team-up with Tom Petty. Bragg steps out from behind the mixing board to contribute vocals to Celsi's tres cool cover of Nancy Sinatra's "One Velvet Morning", making Sweet & Hoffs sound like kids by comparison, and Evie Sands joins for a cover of the 1963 Jaynetts classic "Sally Go Round the Roses" that sounds completely in place here. Retro yet original, this disc is one world in which there's nothing wrong in getting tangled.
With 2003’s ‘Little Black Dress and Other Stories’ Anny Celsi certainly left her mark on any music fan who loves the classic pop sounds of the sixties. While the songs conjured up memories of Jackie DeShannon, the Brill Building, Spector and more it was all wrapped up with a contemporary edge. The searing guitar solo of the title track was an early indication that here was an artist that was capable of more than just cloning a classic sound. Much like some of Amy Rigby’s work, Anny used the past while still keeping it original.
There was a summer vibe to much of the album ; hailing from California and with song titles such as ‘Summer Fling’ we expected as much and everything about Anny, from the outstanding cover of that first album to her vocals which are warm, familiar and inviting the very first time you hear them, is so appealing. Anny is adept at writing melodies that are instant yet never cloying and lyrically she really is something else. Anny is one of those artists whose lyrics stand on their own even without her melodies. But at the end of the day it’s in her vocals, while hours could be spent discussing which traces of our favourite female singers from the last 50 years can be heard in her songs, Anny does have a sound of her own and she is the owner of one of those voices that you can’t help but fall in love with. Anny is, simply, a superb vocalist.
It was some six long years before Anny released a follow-up album to ‘Little Black Dress’. Positive reviews met the release of ‘Tangle-Free World’ last year and most critics made much out of the fact that Anny had gathered some well-known and respected musicians to play on the album this time. It’s surely a measure of how much respect other musicians have for Anny when she can not only acquire the services of Nelson Bragg (percussionist/vocalist for Brian Wilson) as producer and multi-instrumentalist on ‘Tangle-Free World’, but also get a helping-hand from Probyn Gregory and Nick Walusko (Wondermints, Brian Wilson, Lisa Mychols), Evie Sands and Amy Farris to name but a few.
While classic pop and Byrds influences are noted in those reviews what many fail to mention is just how soulful Anny can sound at times. ‘Now You Can Hurt Me’ is an outstanding vocal performance by Anny that can break even the hardest of hearts. Again, despite superb backing it’s Anny’s vocals that draw you in.
After recording an unexpected but outstanding Christmas song, ‘Christmas in the Pines’ which you can download via Anny’s site at www.annycelsi.com,( and where you can also sample some of the songs featured on Anny’s albums) Anny is just about to embark on a European tour which hopefully won’t be hampered by volcanic ash as her planned tour was last year. But before Anny hits the road she was kind enough to find the time to answer a few of our questions:
PB: Your debut solo album, ‘Little Black Dress and Other Stories’, was released, I think I’m correct in saying, in 2003. Was that the first time your music had been commercially available or had you been in bands before that?
AC: My first band was the Tearjerkers. It was three girl lead singers, a male drummer and guitar player. We released a single – on vinyl!- with three songs on it, and we signed each and every copy by hand. If you see one on E-Bay, buy it! I also released a CD titled 'She Walks In' under the band name Annyland.
PB: It’s taken you about six years to follow up ‘Little Black Dress…’ with ‘Tangle-Free World’. That’s quite a gap. Were you still involved in music during that period?
AC: It took me a long time to get going on a follow-up album. I was in a little bit of survival mode, working four or five jobs, raising a son and all the logistics that entails. I did still play music and even toured a few times. But a big reason it took so long is that I was incredibly proud of 'Little Black Dress'. Kevin Jarvis, who produced it, had done such an amazing job of bringing the songs to life. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to live up to it on the next record.
It took me a long time to get a start on new songs, to find the right producer and recording situation, and, oh yes, the money. Once I started to feel some momentum, things began to take on a life of their own. The songs fell into place, and it turned out to be a very exciting project – and a completely different album from 'Little Black Dress'.
PB: How would you describe the music you make? There’s a distinct sixties feel to ‘Tangle-Free World’ which I think many have overlooked especially when comparing your music to that of Aimee Mann and Sheryl Crow.
AC: ‘Tangle-Free World’ has more in common with early Amy Rigby than Sheryl Crow.
There's a tendency to lump female singer/songwriters together by gender. But when people make those comparisons, they're putting me in company with women who have something of substance to say, which is flattering.
I think Amy and I have the same love of sixties-pop, hook-oriented music and are influenced by those writers. Sheryl Crow seems more into seventies guitar rock, which I didn't pay much attention to when the actual seventies were happening. For me every song comes down to a good lyric,a good story, which is straight out of the Tin Pan Alley/Brill Building aesthetic. A great song has a point of view, a beginning, middle and end - maybe even some mystery. That's true of pop, country, folk, whatever bag you're in and whether you're male or female.
PB: You’ve got some well-respected musicians involved on ‘Tangle-Free World’ including Nelson Bragg and Evie Sands. How did they get involved?
AC: We're fortunate here in Los Angeles. World class musicians make their home here and play in other bands around town when they're not on the road. Everyone gets to know each other as you circulate through the clubs. Half of Brian Wilson's band lives here; Evie is a friend and plays in a band whose gigs I haunt regularly.
I met Nelson at a big jam night we used to have at Highland Grounds every month. When it comes time to record, almost anyone you ask is happy to pitch in if they're in town, just to be playing good music. I feel extremely lucky and I take advantage any time I can!
PB: Did having Nelson producing the album shape the final takes of the songs greatly from how you originally envisaged them?
AC: Very much so. I knew Nelson as a drummer but it was a revelation when I discovered what a great producer and arranger he is. Nelson brought a much wider musical landscape to the sound than I had before. We both love old-school production, the world of Bacharach, Jimmy Webb, the Byrds, but I wouldn't have had a clue how to get that sound in the limited recording situations we had. Not only that, he took the songs in directions I would never have thought to do.
PB: Apart from a couple of songs the whole album is self composed. When working on songs which instrument do you use?
AC: I write on guitar. It's the only thing I know how to play.
PB: Lee Hazlewood’s ‘Some Velvet Morning’ fits in perfectly with your own songs on ‘Tangle-Free World’. That particular song has already been covered by so many artists. What were your reasons for including it on your album?
AC: My son Ivan is a pretty eclectic music listener. After he heard some of the songs we'd recorded for the album, he played me that song and suggested it as a duet for Nelson and I. I wasn't familiar with it and it blew me away, that combination of Spaghetti Western, Americana and whiskey-fueled psychedelia - all stuff I love.
Not that many people seem to know the song over here but when we go over to the UK, everyone knows all the words and gets up and dances to it - which isn't easy to do!
PB: It appears from the notes on the cover that the songs you wrote for the album are linked in some way. Do they reflect a certain period in your life?
AC: I don't set out with a set of linked songs to make a record. There might be four or five to start, and the rest come along in their own time through the process of making it.
Towards the end, I start to look at sequencing and seeing how they're related, and the connections start to become more apparent - the tangled threads, as it were, start to untangle, until you arrive at a through-line. That's a very exciting moment, when you begin to see what the record means as a whole.
But from the first day, I did know that 'Tangle-Free World' would open the album and 'Paper Umbrella' would close it. Everything else served as the journey between.
PB: ‘Now You Can Hurt Me’ is one of the most soulful performances you have recorded. It’s not the only heart-tugging ballad on the album but it’s steeped in that old Southern Soul sound. There’s a new breed of female singers who are making their mark cutting whole albums where they recreate that classic soul sound. But they seem forced at times whereas your vocals on ‘Now You Can Hurt Me’ sound so natural. Is this a side of Anny Celsi we can look forward to hearing more of?
AC: I love all those great soul singers, but I've never been in that league as a vocalist. When I've tried to sing like that, it's never come off right it sounds forced, as you say, and I always regret it. Even though I wrote that song I was intimated by it, thinking it would be better served by a vocalist with more raw power. So I just had to approach singing it the way I do best, which is just to tell the story and stay out of the way, not try to show off. It's a natural and personal song, and I hope that's what the listener hears - not my lack of belting chops.
PB: There have been many glowing reviews for ‘Tangle-Free World’. You must be pleased with the reception the album has received.
PB: You’ve toured the U.K. before and return again in March. I understand you had to cancel gigs in the U.K. last year due to erupting volcanoes! That must have been a major setback. Was the whole tour cancelled?
AC: We landed at Heathrow on the morning of April 15th, one of the last planes to land. We were supposed to go on to Amsterdam but within hours, every flight had been cancelled. It was a very confusing few days - nobody knew what was happening or when the planes would fly again. We couldn't get a train, car, reach anybody by phone, anything.
We missed five dates in the Netherlands before we could get there, which was by ferry, the following week. As soon as I got back to the US, I got on the internet and started trying to rebook everything we'd missed. And here we are.
PB: Are you bringing the musicians who backed you on the album over for the tour or do you have a regular touring band?
AC: I travel light - I just bring Nelson, who plays percussion and sings. His whole drumkit fits in a suitcase. We have a few friends who'll join us on the road to fill things out: Roland Wolff, of Riviera, lives in Germany and plays with us in Holland, Belgium and Germany. Duncan Maitland, who has played with Pugwash and has a fantastic new CD out, will play with us in Ireland, Scotland and some of the England dates. Richard Snow, another UK powerpop luminary, will join us on a couple of shows in the Midlands.
PB: What can we expect from the gigs? Are you planning on unveiling any new songs?
AC: We've just recorded a single that should be on the airwaves by the time we get over - a cover of a Peter Holsapple song that we duet on. It's the beginning of the next album...
PB: Have you started work on that yet?
AC: it is going to be an album of duets between Nelson and I. It's been hard to find recording time - maybe we'll be able to put in more time after we get back from the tour.
PB: You must get tired of this question but who has influenced your music? What or who do you draw inspiration from?
AC: You've certainly heard the 60's influences - Phil Spector, Laura Nyro, the Byrds and the Beatles, 'Dusty in Memphis', all things Brill Building.
I also love literate songwriters like Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Forbert, Nick Lowe. And besides music, I'm inspired by writers like Mark Twain, Dickens, Steinbeck, Theodore Dreiser - people who really know how to tell a story. I'm always looking for ways to do that in a song.
PB: Finally it would be cool to know what music you are currently enjoying.
AC: Loving Springsteen's 'The Promise'. Listening in on the creative process that led to 'Darkness on the Edge of Town' is a songwriter's dream! The new Crowded House CD 'Intriguer', is fantastic, and anytime my son sits down to play the piano...that's my favourite thing to listen to.
PB: Thank you.
Malcolm Carter - Pennyblack Music (Jan 21, 2011)
Tangled Up In Soul Anny Celsi is part of the extended family of Los Angeles musicians with extensive links to Brian Wilson. Indeed, her latest album is produced by Nelson Bragg, and Anny and Nelson have been touring Europe together. I reviewed her first album a few years back, and she has now released her second full-length album, Tangle-Free World.
The new album is a winner and should appeal to a wide range of fans – it should be essential listening for Brian Wilson fans as well fans of Nelson Bragg’s smooth Day Into Night. There is a lot of variety on the album, but also a lot of care on each track- some highlights include the classic country pop of First Love Freezes, the soulfully brilliant Now You Can Hurt Me, and the wonderful pop sounds of Own Sweet Time. Nelson Bragg shares vocals on the cover of Lee Hazelwood’s Some Velvet Morning, while the other cover Sally Go Round The Roses features Evie Sands. My personal favorite is the aching closer Paper Umbrella which is really lovely and deserves a lot more exposure.
Nelson Bragg brings in some of the smooth West Coast production touches of his own solo, but there is also a great sense of the Wrecking Crew sound of Brian Wilson’s most famous works. Overall, there is genuine quality here and it comes with my highest recommendation.
RAGAZZA MUSIC - Once in a blue moon a great L.A. style pop album comes around. For sheer pop genius this time out, it’s the 2009 CD release of Tangle-Free World by Anny Celsi. It’s near impossible to escape the fantastic pop and rock music lineage of L.A. From the innocent beginningsof Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys to the great psychedelic flourishes of L.A. and sister city San Francisco by the end of the 1960's, California leaves a music legacy second to none. A thoroughly modern singer-songwriter and guitarist looking to move the California folk-rock and power pop sound into the millennium, Ms. Celsi’s album has it all, including a valuable historical context within which she weaves her pop magic. Critics may cite influences like The Bangles to The Byrds within her music, but dig deeper and the sound further unfolds with fresh covers of the Lee Hazelwood / Nancy Sinatra track “Some Velvet Morning” and there’s even a cover of “Sally Go Round The Roses” with a vocal cameo from L.A. singing great Evie Sands. Key to the album’s success is the outstanding production and arranging from Nelson Bragg, who also mixed the CD, as well also a top band including guitarist Rick Gallego, Brian Wilson band members Scott Bennett (keys) and Nick Walusko, who’s also a member of The Wondermints. Considering the ‘60s vibe throughout the set, Wilson himself would dig this eclectic retro-rock album. The packaging is fantastic too with its fold-out multi-panel digi-pak design featuring all the credits amid a swirl of paisley pop art designs. A trip into the musical time tunnel, Tangle-Free World is an essential cross-section of 21st century L.A. pop.
Music World Express
A Multi-Faceted Gem of Musical Brilliance! Every once in awhile, an album comes along that impacts me such to a point that I simply have to write about it. I purchased Anny Celsi's album "Tangle-Free World" through iTunes on the weekend and after the first few bars of the title track, this album grabbed my attention, and I turned the volume, up - way up! By the time I got to the third track I decided that it's time to put on my writer hat and review this gem of a record.
Ever hear a song that literally makes you feel electric? Something so beautiful and moving that you feel kind of numb and awe-struck? Put on the title track of "Tangle Free World" and if you're like me, expect a wonderful auditory experience. Beautiful melody, catchy, exquisite harmonies, and a rhythm track that would make for perfect driving music. This song will head to the front of the list of my favorites to listen to while driving fast along scenic highways.
"Thanksgiving in Hollywood" is another favorite on this album. Starts out with a bit of a melancholy introduction then picks up the pace with plenty of jangly guitars (which I love) and some very cool organ and lead guitar contributing to a wonderful folk-pop sound. The mood is a bit dark and mysterious, yet uplifting at the same time. One of my favorite tracks on the album.
Another favorite is "First Love Freezes", a beautiful melody and Anny's soft and haunting vocal is perfect for this very pretty ballad. Again, complemented by lush harmony vocals and I absolutely love the guitar work in this one.
"The Night She Learned to Drive" is a wonderful tune that has such heartfelt lyrics, and is performed with a vibe of re-assurance and hope. The song has the perfect feel to match the theme of the lyrics. It's another song that features a travelling rhythm that would be great to listen to on a road trip. A beautiful example of classic Americana in its most perfect form.
Also add "Piece of Heaven" to my list of favorite tracks on this album - a fun, upbeat jangly pop tune with a classic Monkee-esque sound from my favorite pop era. This one will not only get your toes-tapping, but you may easily find yourself singing along to this very catchy track.
"Sally Go Round the Roses", a fantastic cover of the Jaynetts 1963 hit, is pure fun. Pop music legend Evie Sands and Teresa Cowles provide backing vocals which add another dimension to the overall girl-group feel of this great song. The sixties vibe is well-preserved in the production, but with a cleaner, fresher sound. The "tangle-free" outtro at the end was quite a pleasant surprise as well!
I previously had somewhat limited interest in Lee Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra's "Some Velvet Morning", but the version on this album so beautifully performed by Anny Celsi and Nelson Bragg, has garnered repeated listens. Their flawless soulful vocals, combined with a beautifully performed instrumental track have resulted in a new interest in this classic for this listener.
This album has so many dimensions to it that really give the record an overall dynamic of several moods and vibes that intertwine together so well, yet keeping a smooth path or 'tangle-free' experience for the listener. Anny really shines in this album. A must-have for your collection, this album has been added to my favorites and will inevitably get extensive play from this fan.
10 out of 10!
Laura Biagini - Musician/Songwriter
One of the best albums of the decade....
I'm completely blown away by this CD. In fact, it's the first album for at least two years that I had to replay instantly! "Tangle-Free World" is gorgeous, melodic, musically interesting and totally enjoyable. There is absolutely not one dud track on the album, and I would go as far as saying that virtually every song could be a single. The first track "Tangle Free World" is delightful - kind of like Mamas and Papas meet "Marakesh Express" on "Pleasant Valley Sunday"! There are some lovely touches of sitar and a trumpet arrangement that would be at home on "The Notorious Byrd Brothers".
All that said, Anny Celsi is an excellent songwriter with a unique and affecting voice. Everything sounds so good here, that I hesitate to pick favourite tracks, but Thanksgiving in Hollywood", "First Love Freezes", "The Night She Learned to Drive" and "Own Sweet Time" are the songs that particularly stood out on my first listens.
"Now You Can Hurt Me" has the soulful sound that you might hear on Van Morrison's "Beautiful Vision". As well as Nelson on drums and percussion, it features Scott Bennett on organ and piano, Paul Von Merten on saxophones and Nick Walusko on Electric Guitar. "One Sweet Time" features Probyn Gregory on bass, trumpet and slide guitar and a string arrangement by Paul Von Mertens. The guitar playing at the end sounds uncannily like George Harrison's on "Cloud Nine".
Nelson's creativity shines throughout the album, giving several songs a jingly-jangley Bydsy sound that could also be likened to Suzanne Vega's "Luka" or the best of the Pretender's music. Anny and Nelson's cover of Lee Hazelwood's "Some Velvet Morning" is a wonderful surprise, and one of the rare occasions where a cover version does full justice to the original. Incidentally, Brett Simons is featured here on bass guitars.
"Sally Go Round the Roses" (which I seem to recall Joan Baez singing in "Don't Look Back") is here developed into something much more interesting. It has lovely harmonies and organ playing not unlike that of Ray Manzarek. After a (Sixties style) brief reprise of "Tangle-Free World" the album closes with the beautiful and poignant "Paper Umbrella".
Despite all the instruments featured (including violas, violins, cellos, horns and piano) Anny’s voice remains at the heart of the music. In conclusion, “Tangle-Free World” is a triumph for all concerned – for Anny, for Nelson as producer arranger, and for the members of the Brian Wilson band who display their remarkable versatility and talent. I’ve nothing else to say right now, except BUY IT!
11 tracks of sonic beauty. Anny's effortlessly cool vocals sit on top of a beautiful production,largely by Nelson Bragg.
Along the the way you pick up a vibe of Burt Bacharach, Chrissie Hynde, Glen Campbell, Jim Webb, Paul Williams, Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. Talking of whom, there is a first class cover of that couples "Some Velvet Morning" Anny and Nelson share the vocals and fellow Brian Wilson bandmate Nick Walusko provides the haunting baritone guitar. Dare I say it, for me it beats Lee and Nancy's version.
"Thanksgiving in Hollywood" brings to mind Tom Petty or The Pretenders in one of their Byrds influenced moments. It's my personal favourite on the record, play it loud!
"The Night She Learned to Drive" and "Dream Boy" really show case Anny's cool voice. They're both about as fine examples of songwriting as you'll find anywhere.
The latter, at one point breaks down to a wall of breathtaking harmonies.
I put this album in my top 10 for 2009. Buy it, you'll love it too!
* * *
Morning Bliss I was lucky enough to be given a copy of Anny Celsi's new CD as a gift and I love it so much. The music, lyrics, singing, instrumentation and production are all incredible. I've seriously been listening to this CD every morning ever since I got it. It's become my favorite way to start the day. Now I plan to give copies as gifts to friends during the holidays. I highly, highly recommend Tangle Free World to everyone who appreciates original, smart, soulful, singer-songwriters.
* * *
Tangle Free World is a true find Anny Celsi's new recording has everything I love about great music. The melodies are gorgeous and the harmony is rich and unpredictable. More importantly there is such a great vibe on this CD that I want to listen to it over and over. Her lyrics are so smart too, weaving images and stories like a classic indy film. Nelson Bragg's superb producing bring it all together with the perfect balance of polish and raw soul. You know those favorite recordings where EVERY cut is a gem? Tangle Free World is one of those.
* * *
I have had this CD for several weeks now and it has quickly become one of my favorites. It hasn't been easy waiting for this new CD from Anny ever since I heard that she was working on it. It has certainly been worth the wait. Tangle-Free World doesn't disappoint and is a must for any fan of Anny Celsi's or her previous album Little Black Dress. Anny's songwriting is absolutely magical with lyrics that paint a picture and music that invites you to come along for the ride. It is a great CD with 11 perfect songs. The special guest artists and Nelson Bragg's production are a perfect complement.
* * *
Scintillating American Pop The rewards for listening to this roots-pop are profound. With a master's touch, Nelson Bragg, member of the Wondermints collective and great artist in his own right, has produced engaging, disparate tracks from an authentic American star, Anny Celsi. This review is based on four tracks, the utterly winning, hit-worthy "Sally;" the propulsive Bangles-update of "Tangle-Free World"; the short-story epic of "The Night She Learned to Drive; and the Bragg-Celsi pop duo of "Some Velvet Morning." Like a tour through America's recent past, these tracks are where independent American pop beats all contenders, makes you proud to know such underground talent.
* * *
Amazon Listener Reviews
‘Westcoastpop van het zuiverste water, zoals verderop ‘First Love Freezes’ en ‘The Night She Learned To Drive’ met hun sprankelende countryfolkpop het gehoor strelen….Tangle- Free World’ is een veelzijdige en bloedmooie popplaat, waar ook de meer puristisch ingestelde americana liefhebber, veel luisterplezier aan zal beleven.” -- Huub Thomassen, Real Roots Café
“Ook "Tangle-Free World" bevat weer gedreven rootsmuziek met een stevig rock 'n roll randje. Eén beluistering van dit door Nelson Bragg - percussionist in de Brian Wilson band en drummer bij Anny - geproduceerde en ook grotendeels zelf bij elkaar gepende geheel volstonden alvast om te weten dat dit een juweeltje van een rootsplaat is geworden, een plaat waarin we kunnen genieten van elf nieuwe Celsi-songs…Anny Celsi zingt vol passie en beschikt over een prachtige stem. Bovendien zijn haar songs zo toegankelijk dat je ze de komende tijd echt niet meer uit je hoofd krijgt.” -- Rootstime
“Tangle-Free World, kortom, is voer voor liefhebbers van verzorgde Amerikaanse kwaliteitspop..” –Peter Bartlema, Kindamuzik
“Anny duidelijk in de lijn van grootheden zoals Aimee Mann, Lucinda Williams, Suzanne Vega en Jackie DeShannon… Zelden straalt een album zo’n karakter uit. Er valt geen enkele song uit de toon en dit op zich is al een hele prestatie. Zowel muzikaal als tekstueel, knap wat deze dame uit Highland Park (Los Angeles), Californië ons voorschotelt.” -- Philip Verhaege, Keys and Chords
"Haar songs hebben stuk voor stuk een pakkend karakter, voorzien van een heerlijk vrijgevochten retro-geluid. Ook haar zang is gepakt op dezelfde prettige ruimtelijke manier waardoor de sound iets herkenbaars geeft die vergelijkbaar is aan de zestiger jaren a la Jackie DeShannon. (Even terzijde: Jackie schreef eveneens uitstekende eigen songs, terwijl ze primair bekendheid verwierf met covers) Producer Nelson Bragg (van the Brian Wilson Band) gooit er een toepasselijk vet arrangement overheen, waardoor de Lee Hazlewood cover Some Velvet Morning zich automatisch thuis moet voelen tussen de recent geschreven nummers. Haar vorige CD “Little Black Dress & other Stories” was me ontgaan, maar wordt dusdanig geroemd dat ik later zeker terug zal grijpen op deze eerdere release. Die plaat schijnt een film noir sfeer op te roepen. Sally Go Round the Roses is eveneens een cover die oorspronkelijk was geschreven voor het meidengroepje The Jaynetts in 1963. (Meteen duidelijk waar Buckley de mosterd gehaald heeft!) Featuring Evie Sands luidt het, omdat zij hier een waardige hoofdrol vervult….Anny Celsi – ik kende haar niet! – maar ben verrukt geraakt door deze uitstekend gemaakte cd, die pretentieloos een aaneenschakeling van ogenschijnlijke spontaniteit ten gehore brengt. Muziek van deze tijd, maar eentje die teruggrijpt op de kwaliteiten van het rijke muzikale verleden – uit een tijd waarin popmuziek in de kinderschoenen stond. Now You Can Hurt Me had toen een sensationele hit opgeleverd." – Rein van den Berg, AltCountryForum.nl
Although she's not repeated the pulp noir narrative fragments of Little Black Dress And Other Stories, the LA singer-songwriter's sophomore solo album does echo its themes of interconnectivity in human relationships or, as the blurb puts it, "the many ways we find ourselves entangled the moment we allow ourselves to be touched by another, and the ways those tangles reach into other lives and back to touch us again."
More to the point, produced by Brian Wilson's drummer Nelson Bragg (who also co-wrote two numbers), it further underscores the 60s and folk pop influences that inform her own music. Her list of influences on her MySpace page doesn't actually mention The Monkees (ok, she does include Mickey Dolenz), but listening to the opening title track, it's hard not to find yourself thinking of Pleasant Valley Sunday. She does, however, cite The Byrds and they certainly take flight on the ringing guitar wings of both Thanksgiving In Hollywood and First Love Freezes while the swaying, horns packed Now You Can Hurt Me brings together her love of soul, Dusty and 60s girl groups and the dreamy pop of Own Sweet Time oozes pure Bacharach.
But, while you might want to point to a pinch of Julie London on the lilting piano flecked Paper Umbrella or suggest Piece Of Heaven is how Debbie Harry may have sounded had Blondie been a 60s flower pop outfit like the Cowsills, the fact remains while Celsi isn't just recycling her record collection. Like her voice, her songs, lyrics and melodies have their own distinctive character.
Listen, for example, to the soft country shuffling The Night She Learned To Drive which draws on memories of a road trip she took with her now teenage son Ivan (who, incidentally, sings back up here and plays trumpet on the title track) and turns them into a bittersweet story of a mother taking her young child and fleeing an abusive relationship. Or then again there's the deceptively lilting Dream Boy which, building over dark twangy guitar and an almost Orbisonesque sense of drama, weaves a tragic noir tale of a failing marriage, drunk husband, jealous rage, an old flame and murder.
My only reservation come with the album's two covers. For her debut she put her own spin on a track by 80s guitar outfit Translator but here she's gone back to the 60s and simply replicated the originals.
There have been many versions of Sally Go 'Round The Roses' (Great Society, ? and the Mysterians, and even Donna Summer among them), but, joined by Brooklyn born minor legend singer-songwriter Evie Sands, Celsi's hews almost identically to the Spector produced 1963 original by girl group The Jaynetts, complete with the original Artie Butler arrangement. Then there's the duet with Bragg on Lee and Nancy classic Some Velvet Morning. Bragg makes a reasonable pass at sounding like Hazelwood, but given the unique quality of the original, unless you're going to totally deconstruct the song in the manner of Vanilla Fudge, I'd have to say that sometimes it's better to just stand back and admire.
This, though, is just a minor knot in what is an otherwise terrific second album that should deservedly see her success and reputation flourish.
Mike Davies - Netrythms.com
Little Black Dress & Other Stories - Reviews
3 STARS "clever...and the music is consistently strong to boot." -- Ken Barnes, USA Today
"affecting, pop-smart tunes" - Chris Morris, Billboard
"Think of Victoria Williams, Aimee Mann, Suzanne Vega and Sheryl Crow mixed together and you begin to get the picture...Anny is pretty much their equal as a songwriter."
-- S.P. Clarke, Two Louies
"An ultra-cool, ultra-hip album that is one of the best new releases I've heard in a long time. Check it out." -- Ed Kociela, Utah Daily News
"well deserves my five stars top rating!"
-- Hugues Orsetti, CROSSROADS (France)
"The music is all in Celsi's writing, which is direct, killing...needing no ornamentation..."-- Greil Marcus, Real Life Rock Top Ten
"Little Black Dress & Other Stories is a hell of an impressive debut,
and Anny Celsi is a talent to watch." --Michael Toland -- highbias.com
"There isn't a weak track in the set, which is no small achievement."
-- Adrian Zupp, HARP
"Hit material folk pop" -Tom “Tearaway” Schulte – Outsight Communications
“A musical journey in the best sense, "Little Black Dress" unfolds like a tightly written script. ” – Mark Spangler, The Oregonian
"...a marvelously cool, hip, subtle singer and songwriter...equally convincing with a Dusty Springfield/Jackie DeShannon style ballad as a Peggy Lee-ish torch song...." -- John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music
"Overall, a nice collection from the indie side of the street with enough twists to keep listeners interested." -- Gillian G. Gaar, Goldmine
"One of the most literate, appealing albums of 2003...Celsi has produced
a superlative set of song novellas that demand you hit the repeat button."
-- Paul Andersen, San Gabriel Valley Papers
"In the classic singer-songwriter mode, Anny’s sunny/dark folky-rock took me to a “Raymond Chandler-esqe” Los Angeles of hard lessons learned and the high cost of love. Dig it! It’s black and white 50’s film-noir in color!" -- Two Louies
"Anny Celsi possesses such a radiantly reassuring voice that it almost doesn’t matter what she’s singing about..." -- Falling James, LA Weekly
"Anny Celsi has proved the Lee Hazlewood style of pop mining in the service of a pulp fiction song cycle is alive and thriving." -- Eric Olsen, Blogcritics.com
“It's not often that listening to a record evokes the same buzz of satisfaction that one gets upon finishing a particularly ripping book. Seldom does an album sustain an arc of characters and situations that is consistently surprising, amusing and touching. "Little Black Dress and Other Stories" is all this and more… whether you're following her written words or bouncing a foot to the surplus of winning melodies, "Little Black Dress" is a perfect fit.” – John Chandler, Portland Tribune
"...a beatnik-cool performer who veers from poppy, bouncy beats to jazzy piano bar riffs and sexy come-ons... she’s sensitive but no wimp and a fellow traveler to Aimee Mann and Sheryl Crow. The “pop-noir” soundtrack of her solo debut, “Little Black Dress,” wears a veneer of L.A. Confidential style." -- Bob Ruggiero, Houston Press
“When she starts to sing she's got something to say, and she says it in this way designed to separate the boys from the men, if you know what I mean and I think you do.”
-- Ben Varkentine, Ink19.com
"With a hard-boiled writer’s sense of economy, Anny Celsi pulls you into the disturbing scenarios of thwarted romance, peopled by the usual suspects with fickle hearts and fatal flaws..."
-- Larry O.Dean, Amplifier
“We played "Empty Hangers," and I tell ya, if the rest of her record's as good as that one track, then we've got another Brand New Fave here...” (Dana & Carl, THIS IS ROCK N' ROLL RADIO, WXXE, Syracuse, NY)
"I don't understand much of what is going on in these 13 songs, but I think I like it...Her voice is staggeringly lovely, the songs are all very well put together and feature attractive mixes and colors that you can't get out of your head and whether I understood anything going on here or not, I certainly end up heartily recommending this odd but lovely little disc."
-- P. Kellach Waddle, FolkWax
"When her genre skimming peaks, it’s sharp and rewarding. “Summer Fling,” equal parts Motown and Bachrach, is breezy, bouncy and flitting with Audrey Hepburn abandon. “Wicked Little Heart” is swift and sexy, a track that could easily appear on a Julee Cruise record...As the album sketches out gone wrong women and situations, her lyrical knack for snagging human nature is astounding..."
-- Terry Sawyer, indieworkshop.com
"Anny Celsi has a knack for selecting telling symbols that illuminate the interior lives of characters inhabiting her songs...her original material matches smart, insightful lyrics with a hugely singable melody...[using] seemingly mundane objects to dissect relationship politics with sometimes acidic precision."
-- Bliss, Pasadena Weekly
"Doesn't the title alone stir you up? Well, she delivers, combining crackerjack lyrics and songwriting with attitude and an alt-country feel that 's hard to shake."
-- John Koenig, Discoveries
"...a fine debut album of folk pop and songs about cheap booze, hopeful losers, femme fatales and female empowerment with a soft but slightly burred voice somewhere between Aimee Mann, Chrissie Hynde and Sheryl Crow" -- Mike Davies, NetRhythms.com
"Her songs with wild and sensitive make us feel the LA breeze...it will make you feel like turning over the toy-box. Full of variety, though unified....just like a kaleidoscope." -- Shuichi Iwami
"Ihr Debütalbum unter eigenem Namen ist ein gelungenes Werk mit Konzept, Charakter, Stil und Klasse – eine perfekte Einheit vom pulp-style Cover über die 60er Jahre Artwork bis zu den mehrdeutigen Texten und der letzten (Twang) Anny Celsi ist definitiv anders – im spannendsten Sinn des Wortes!"
"De vanuit Los Angeles opererende zingende liedjesschrijfster Anny Celsi is met “Little Black Dress & Other Stories” niet echt aan haar proefstuk toe, maar het heeft er pas nu eindelijk alle aanschijn van dat een doorbraak nakende is." -- ctrl.alt.country (Belgium)
"Met dat laatste zal het wel goed komen trouwens want Anny Celsi heeft talent, dat mag duidelijk zijn." -- Real Roots Cafe (The Netherlands)