On March 16, 2012 at the Secret Society Ballroom, Portland, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Pilar French will celebrate the release of her latest CD, Deliver, her third album overall. A six-song collection of heartfelt, warming pop-rock sprinkled with roots leanings, French takes a lighter approach on Deliver, following up on 2009’s Alive, an album that tackled life’s heavier subject matter.
Also on the bill are Riviera and Nicole Campbell. Coors at 8pm, show starts at 9pm. Tickets are $8.00 in advance through Brownpapertickets.com and $10.00 at the door.
Recorded at 8-Ball Studios, and produced by French and Rob Stoup, French is joined by her band, Jeff Koch (guitar, guitanjo), Tony Howard (drums, vocals), and Sean Nowland (bass), as well as guests Jean Pierre Garau (keys), Rachel Taylor Brown (vocals, accordion), Marilee Hord (violin), and Todd Bayles (cello).
Discussing the optimistic vibe of Deliver compared to its predecessors (besides Alive, her debut album is 2007’s Butterflies), French comments that, “The second record I did was a little bit heavier. It touched on heavier topics like human perseverance and the will to survive and overcome life challenges,” says French. “This CD is more about cherishing family, relationships and what you have as opposed to what you don’t have. The music is a little more light-hearted. It’s meant to make you feel happy and appreciate what you have. I wanted to write songs to remind me to appreciate what I have. You walk away from it with really positive vibes.”
Opening with the title track, a song inspired by her nephew, French sings about wanting a better world for the next generation.
“It was inspired by Luke, my nephew, who was born prematurely but who is now a healthy, vibrant little kid.”
A mid-tempo pop song, the song comes across like a burst of sunshine, French’s warm voice accompanied by a steady drum beat and beautifully-crafted instrumentation, the keyboard adding a spring to the already heartening song.
“Love and Live” finds French being more soulful, a rich, passionate soul-roots song that has her singing about forgetting the rat race and appreciating what you have.
“There’s so much going on in our society right now – people are losing their jobs and their homes. Times are tough,” French says, discussing the song, and the overall vibe of the album. “We’ve got people fighting in a war that’s been going on for ten years. It’s a time that makes us want to reflect on what we have and appreciate it.”
With the addition of guest vocalist Rachel Taylor-Brown on “Tumbleweed,” the pop-rock number comes alive, while “Place of Our Own” finds French creating a mysterious ambiance with its late-night, been out all night having fun, laid-back rock style.
The soul-pop groove of “End of the Day” showcases French’s voice perfectly, while the album closer, “The Build,” offers a nice instrumental roots-pop finish to a polished, memorable collection of tunes.
Some will notice that “End of the Day” also appears on Alive. The version found here is a full band version, expanding on the acoustic recording previously released.
“I wanted to record it with the full band and capture a more euphoric sound. The song came to me while sitting on a log on the beach in Pacific City during sunset. For me, sunset is the best part of the day. It’s the most frequent time you will find me pausing to catch my breath and appreciate my surroundings. I guess because I am often stunned by the beauty. Call me a sap,” she says of the re-recording.
With Deliver French tries to capture the breathtaking beauty of a sunset, and the daily joys of life, and put it to music, offering listeners a sound that will give them hope, optimism, and something to slow down, take a deep breath, and relax to while they take in life and all its wondrous beauty. If there is one message you should take from Deliver it’s live for today, enjoy life, and don’t let the negativity bring you down.
Previous Press Quotes:
“Her voice is old-fashioned, but it’s not quirky like Nellie McKay, it’s a ‘better than anyone you know’ voice in a tight style that sticks to the classic delivery Bonnie Raitt and many others.” – OPB Music
“Song titles like ‘Alive’, ‘Mercy’ and ‘Higher Ground’ might make you wonder whether Pilar French’s new release (also calledAlive) is a covers album, but the Portland singer-songwriter has been busy on both sides of the hyphen. Vocally alternating between airy and nasal, she reminds me of Aimee Mann as well as Portland artist McKinley; as far as songwriting, her quirky melodies and glossy and spiky New Wave production are also, if you will, ‘McKinleyesque.’ French’s Higher Ground, a duet with Justin Jude, is a bouncy, would-be radio-ready pop song and the highlight of the album released tonight.” – Willamette Week
“…years of playing in various – and varied – outfits have given Portlander Pilar French a confidence and polish that can’t be faked.” – Portland Tribune
“Pilar can be loungy, smoky and silky, bluesy but is slightly askew… The vibrant Pilar French Intention has made its mark at various Pacific Northwest venues including the Water Front Blues Festival, The Bite of Oregon, Robin Hood Festival, Crystal Ballroom, and Doug Fir.” – Oregon Coast Today
“She may have accidentally created an album about perseverance, but French herself knows firsthand what that means. Alive is a solid, confident affair and we’re the lucky recipients of her will to endure and grow.” – Oregon Music News