Just out is South Coast singer, Clea Crimson’s jazz-infused album Home is Where the Art Is.
Clea has performed all over the world but when it came to releasing her album this week, she has made it clear that her artistic expression has its foundation in the place that she lives. While the album is being listened to and purchased worldwide from her website and Facebook page, Clea’s inspiration comes from home in the relationships of her daily life. Most of the songs on the album were written in the Shoalhaven, either in Clea’s studio or at a quiet cabin she uses to get away from the busyness of daily life.
The album is a collection of jazz/folk songs written by Clea and recorded live over two days at Aphek Studio with some of Sydney’s best jazz musicians.
“I enjoy the process of recording live songs with the band – rather than tracking everything separately and then putting it all together.” says Clea. “It is an intense focus, to sing every time knowing it might be the one that goes on the album. We were exhausted at the end of the two days but I think we came away with a great result.”
Backing vocals were added at The Chapel of Sound, the new studio run by Ross A’Hern (formerly of Sony), by Chris E Thomas and Tony Williams.
“Both Chris E and Tony are two long time friends whose songwriting I admire, and I love their voices so it was wonderful to have them sing backing vocals on the album. What they have added lifts the album to a new level. And they both have new projects that they just released too, so we’re all feeling excited about new work.”
A bonus track “Sing To Me Darlin” on the physical CD features Clea Crimson, grammy nominated Jennifer Knapp and Steve Elphick. The stripped down instrumentation of two voices and double bass is powerful in it’s simplicity, with beautiful harmonies and Steve’s masterful improvisation.
Clea Crimson’s music has been described as having ‘golden syrup’ melodies. Her songs tell a story. Her voice rings with authenticity. Her sound? Think – the lyrical intensity of Joni Mitchell with the smooth jazz flavour of Norah Jones. And so her new release, Home Is Where The Art Is, is like sonic soul tonic for a pop-sick world.
The songs explore notions of relationship, family and the sometimes-competing call to be mother and artist. The songs “Home” and “Reinvention” underscore the strange balance between the creative act of mothering, and the routine rigors of artistic expression. Yet there’s also something of Clea’s playful bent too, strikingly revealed by the song “Creepy Addicted.”
Clea has been performing for over 20 years throughout Australia, Europe, Asia and the USA. A regular solo favourite in piano bars around Sydney in the early 1990s, she was also part of the four-girl A Cappella group Full Body Message. If you haven’t seen their live TV and radio appearances, you’ll very likely have heard her singing backing vocals on albums, including ARIA nominated Rolf Rules OK by Rolf Harris. In 1991 she recorded a solo album for Polydor KK Japan, titled Where Are You Now. And in 1994 she found herself playing her original songs with Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth (of Talking Heads) in their living room, when they invited her over for a jam after hearing her demo tape.
She then took time off to have children, and her emergence from self-imposed hibernation with Home Is Where The Art Is shows the depth that marriage and motherhood have brought to her work. She is currently raising three girls with her husband, composer and jazz saxophonist, Spike Mason, and together they strive to live a life of simplicity and creativity in the beautiful rural South Coast just south of Sydney, Australia. When not behind the piano or guitar, Clea is an educator, leading workshops in vocal performance and songwriting – as well as a local children’s choir.