by Walter Price
I make the same internal wrinkling of the brow when I hear an actor has a band. Since I was a child I was inadvertently taught that things and people have to be compartmentalized. As I got older I realized this wasn’t a fair way of thinking but my fear of actors starting a band straddles if not strangles the fence of cringe and interest. The media over the years have focused on the male thespians and their desire to rock the house. Keanu Reeves (Dogstar), Bruce Willis, Eddy Murphy, Kevin Bacon (The Bacon Brothers), Jared Leto (Thirsty Second To Mars) and Russell Crowe’s 30 Odd Foot of Grunts come to mind as I feverishly type this. Don’t get me twisted, the new Johnny Depp involved project Hollywood Vampires is a rock delight, Reeves’ Dogstar put on a helluva show when I saw them many years ago, Leto is a modern rock master these days and I’ve been known to recommend Jason Schwartzman and Co.’s Phantom Planet from time to time. But let’s face it, people just don’t get into or care for that matter that their screen idols have musical aspirations.
But if you’re like me you’ve noticed that more often than not the most interesting group of screen stars turned music makers (or vice versa) are the woman. I can tell you why I’ve come to this conclusion, in most cases when a female star takes up or returns to music it seems for earnest reasons. A love, passion for music and/or need to be heard in an alternate art stream and less cock swinging arrogance as their male counterparts. And to keep it simple, this reason is more than enough for me to look at four must hear actresses that make music you need.
Jovovich is known for her offbeat and kickass screen characters but Ukrainian-American artist should get more recognition for her subtle and unique voice in music. Outside the smattering of more recent this and that’s in music I have been a huge fan of her early 90’s debut ‘The Devine Comedy’ release. This is an album I found in my life by late night accident. Coming down after a night at a warehouse party I found myself with a small group of friends laying on the floor of a modern college town apartment when the host asked the lumbering collection of five intoxicated good-timers if we’d like to hear something cool… and we did. He popped on Jovovich’s CD and I was immediately transfixed by what was playing out before me. No one spoke except for the occasional “Oh my God, this is so good…”
Keep in mind that Jovovich isn’t a pop diva in any sense of the term but instead using her brilliant musings in raw emotional translations in song. ‘The Devine Comedy’ is one of those albums that prospers in its imperfections. No gloss just poetry in motion.
Although I consider myself a huge Walking Dead fan I couldn’t tell you any of the actor’s names. Case in point, searching SoundCloud for something to sink my proverbial teeth into I ran across an EP (rather snippets of one) that caught and held my attention. The artist is Emily Kinney and only after I did the obligatory Google on her name did I discover she was the adorable Beth (now deceased season 5, R.I.P.) from The Walking Dead. According to the internet I may be one of the only show fans who didn’t know she was a recording artist. C’est la vie
The EP I found is called ‘Expired Love’ and what I found immediately appealing is her similarities to some of my current pop faves Kate Nash, Katie Melua and Lilly Allen who are all British but Britain is where the great pop music is coming from these days. Kinney is a little quirky, a bit sarcastic in corners and 100% cool to the ears with her voice that often dwells in sweet delivery even when the subject matter could presumably call for a growl here or there. But a wink and smile can also get the points across just as well…
NEW MUSIC: This Is War – “Mess”
I don’t think I can add much more than what I’ve already said about Hennessy and her recent release ‘I Do’ but I can without hesitation say that this album will be someplace in my Top 5 2015 releases.
A little of my gushing recently went, “Hennessy has just released her second album ‘I Do’ and it is a collection of life’s true stories, real emotions, tangible soul stirring vignettes of struggle, sacrifice, love, revival, abandonment, tolerance and acceptance to speak of a few story-lines. The power in this album is the songwriter’s experiences laid out in depths and realism that many artists work full careers or even lifetimes trying to achieve. This album forgoes arrogance deciding instead to focus on not just the stellar construction of the songs and subsequently the full album but to let honesty work its gritty magic.”
The reason Lewis and her band the Licks are so damn and unequivocally important is the knowledge and respect given to Rock N Roll history. Add to the equation the frontwoman and band mates are fantastic musicians and you see why the actress’ band were almost an immediate club/tour circuit favorites.
Lewis is effortless in moving in and out of post-punk, garage, blues and interesting to me pop all the while displaying an earnest rawk swagger only the best of artists can get away with without looking like a farce. When you understand and are clearly a student of rock the honesty in sounds will flow and the everyday people and music icons will gravitate.
OH my, let me mention Lewis is getting the band back together…Google time!
Worth Saying: Jennifer Love Hewitt
Stop it, I know what you’re thinking…”She is a marginally talented pop star wannabe…a Natalie Imbruglia clone!!!” Well, yes and no there naysayer. I have always felt there is something wrong with the sonic style the actress (or possibly her team) has chosen for the majority of her repertoire. Which is to say, the woman can sing and this talent gets lost in the Hollywood glitz and the obvious sex appeal she possesses but there is hope!
The singer has the ability to deliver soulful, bluesy and sweet vocals, I would recommend she drop the fancy pants pompous pop theatrics, pick up an acoustic guitar and get back to basics and let the earthy shine. It’s right there under the surface waiting to be heard.
DON’T FORGET TO ROCK N ROLL…