DAYNA KURTZ Double Album Release Show

DAYNA KURTZ Double Album Release Show


Thu, April 5, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$8.00 - $10.00

This event is 21 and over

Dayna Kurtz
Dayna Kurtz
"They're different, Dayna Kurtz says of American Standard and
Secret Canon, Vol. 1, the two disparate yet complementary albums that she's releasing simultaneously. "But they're definitely both me."

Over the past decade, the Brooklyn-based vocalist/writer/musician/producer has built a formidable body of recordings, won an international reputation as a riveting live performer, amassed an extensive file of rapturous critical raves, and earned a fanatically devoted audience of fans around the world. She's achieved these distinctions on her own terms, releasing five albums and a live DVD on her own Kismet label, touring around the world on her own dime, and building a remarkably loyal fan base one person at a time.

Armed with an uncanny ability to stun audiences into submission, this musical free spirit has consistently refused to be pinned down by a single style or genre, building an inspired body of work that draws strength from a bottomless wellspring of American jazz, pop, blues, folk and country. The cinematic poetry of her songwriting is matched by the power of her voice, a rich, distinctly resonant instrument that's capable of immense emotional depth.

Kurtz's iconoclastic approach is underlined by her decision to
simultaneously release American Standard and Secret Canon, Vol. 1. Individually, each disc offers ample evidence of Kurtz's abundant talent. Together, they make a deeply compelling case for her status as a deeply adventurous, one-of-a-kind artist.

"These two records, " she explains, "cover the two dominant strands of blues-based DNA that wind through my musical body. One of those strands is American roots music from the traditions of rock 'n' roll and country, and the other is my lifelong love of smoky mid-century chanteuse records from the R&B and jazz bins."

American Standard is a typically expansive Kurtz set, from the plaintive intimacy of "Invocation" to the rockabilly-inflected swing
of "Good in '62" to the languid Mississippi grind of "Billboards for
Jesus." She recorded half of the album with her longtime drummer/co-producer Randy Crafton and her live band at Crafton's analog studio Kaleidoscope Sound in New Jersey, before she and Crafton traveled to Memphis' fabled Ardent Studios. At Ardent, they cut several tracks with Sun Records rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess and his band, the Legendary Pacers, whose members are all in their 70s and 80s and whose last personnel change occurred in 1961.

From there, they moved to New Orleans, where they recorded the
ebullient "Election Day" with local brass band the Nightcrawlers
(recently featured in HBO's Treme).

Along with several bracing Kurtz originals, American Standard
spotlights the artist's uncanny skill as an interpreter of other
songwriters' compositions. She turns Elliott Smith's "Don't Go
Down" into a howling, desperate blues plea, while bringing a
haunting warmth to Paul Westerberg's "Here Comes a Regular,"
on which Kurtz plays lap steel and French/Israeli chanteuse Keren
Ann provides backing vocals. She also breathes new fire into
the '50s rockabilly nugget "Lou Lou Knows," and tackles Sonny
Burgess' "Hangin' Round My Baby" with an organic passion that's
reciprocated by Burgess and the Pacers.

"I've always been a bit of a genre outlaw. which I guess makes it a
little rough to market me," Kurtz states. "But I'm in love with music,
not with genres. If it's a great song, it's a great song. The songs I
wrote for American Standard, and the songs that I covered for it, were
deeply influenced by my recent obsession with collecting 'lost' songs

by forgotten singers on regional labels."

Secret Canon, Vol. 1, recorded live to tape in New Jersey and

New Orleans, spotlights Kurtz's sublime interpretive abilities, with
the artist putting her stamp on such obscure gems as "Do I Love
You," a startlingly intimate ballad by seminal Texas/L.A. blues-jazz
figure Floyd Dixon; "Sweet Lotus Blossom," a 1930s-vintage ode
to addiction; "If Yesterday Could Only Be Tomorrow" and "Come
In Out of the Rain," both originally recorded by a pre-pop stardom
Nat "King" Cole with his jazz-blues combo the King Cole Trio; and
the memorably titled "Don't Fuck Around with Love," originally a
tongue-in-cheek doo wop novelty in 1962 by Boston vocal group the

"I love finding Great Lost Songs and Great Lost Singers, and I'm
drawn to artists and songs that fall through the cracks," Kurtz notes.
"My favorite period for that is the mid-late '50s and early '60s,
because the lines between genres hadn't really been drawn yet.
There were so many wonderful storefront record labels during that
period, and so many regional artists and writers released so many
brilliant songs that were only heard by a handful of people. And
they're still out there, for those who are willing to dig."

Most of Secret Canon, Vol. 1 was recorded with Kurtz's longstanding
live band, i.e. co-producer Crafton on drums, Dave Richards on
upright bass and Peter Vitalone on piano and organ. Kurtz recorded
the album's lone original, the Brill Building-inspired "Not the Only Fool
In Town," in New Orleans with George Porter Jr., legendary bassist of
the seminal funk combo The Meters, and Crescent City piano master
David Torkanowsky.

"When I was putting together Secret Canon, I was listening to Sam
Cooke's Nightbeat an awful lot, and in many ways that was my model
for this album," she continues. "We started by recording nine songs

in one marathon session, from about four in the afternoon until three
in the morning. We'd talk through the changes, the endings, the
feel. Then we'd roll tape, do one or two takes of each song, and then
move on to the next one. When I listened to them the next day, they
were all keepers. We did two more sessions like that, then one in
New Orleans and then another one back in New Jersey. But six of
the songs on the record were from that first marathon session."

Dayna Kurtz's propensity for musical rule-breaking was forged early
in life, and she was still in her teens when she began performing
her compositions in public. After releasing the low-key live disc
Otherwise Luscious Life, she won considerable acclaim for her
impressively accomplished studio efforts Postcards from Downtown
and Beautiful Yesterday. The former put Kurtz on the map in Europe
and was particularly successful in Holland, where it became a Top
20 seller, culminating in sold-out headlining shows at Amsterdam's
fabled Paradiso (one of which became Kurtz's first DVD, Postcards
from Amsterdam).

Along the way, Kurtz was named Female Songwriter of the Year by
the National Academy of Songwriters. Norah Jones and Bonnie Raitt
have raved about her in interviews, and she's performed on such
high-profile radio shows as World Cafe, Mountain Stage and NPR's
Morning Edition. She's toured with and/or opened for the likes of
Elvis Costello, Antony and the Johnsons, Richard Thompson, Rufus
Wainwright, B.B. King, Dr. John, Richie Havens, Keren Ann, Joe
Henry, Olu Dara, Chris Whitley, Richard Buckner, Kelly Joe Phelps,
Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the Blind Boys of Alabama. And
best-selling author Steve Almond spends an entire chapter singing
her praises in his book about music obsession, Rock and Roll Will
Save Your Life.

Perhaps the strongest evidence of the enduring rapport between
Kurtz and her audience is the fact that American Standard and Secret

Canon, Vol. 1 were financed almost entirely through the donations of

fans who contributed via the artist's website ( in
order to facilitate the creation and dissemination of her new music.

Although it's been three years since her last release, Kurtz has hardly
been idle. She spent much of 2011 touring through North America,
South America, Europe and Australia. She and longtime collaborator
Randy Crafton produced a Top Five record for the Dutch band Room
Eleven. She also produced a 10-inch vinyl tribute to the great folk
singer Hazel Dickens in collaboration fellow Brooklynite Mamie
Minch, as well as a pair of 7" vinyl singles for notable pals Keren Ann
and My Brightest Diamond. She also took some Masters-level poetry
classes at the New School in New York, and took her first-ever guitar
lessons in order to beef up her rockabilly chops.

"I'd rather risk being called a dilettante than be stuck just using just
two crayons out of the big box," Kurtz states, adding, "The lyrics sing
themselves to me and tell me what they want. Some of them want a
brass band. Some of them want a rockabilly combo. Some of them
want a Cajun waltz. Some of them want a searing lap steel guitar.
And some of them, like most of Secret Canon, Vol. 1, want long late-
night sessions with great jazz and blues players, played live to tape.
I'm always just trying to do the best I can to serve the song."
Affectionately known by all who love him as Griz (and currently performing under that pseudonym), Chris Grunwald is a Philadelphia born artist who has been delivering the goods
for more than a decade. Constantly adding to his creative resume, he continues to explore different musical avenues both as a solo performer and with several Philly based bands. Griz'
rustic exterior is embedded with thoughtful honesty and raw affection. His repertoire is a unique collection of songs crafted with an untamed scrutiny of the human experience that leaves an
audience energized and ready to dance. This rocking vibe sets Griz apart from his mates in the local folk scene.

When Griz is playing with his full band, it is the fleshed out manifestation of his songwriting. Accompanied by a rotating cast of accomplished musicans, it brings to life the rock and roll
sounds that Griz hears in his head (along with the voices). They enjoy a fun loving fan base that can often be heard singing along to songs from Plant Life, as well as newer tunes from The
Secret in the Garden.
Venue Information:
1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107