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Published 21.10.2014 | Author : admin | Category : What A Man Wants From A Woman

There are performers who scale the heights of imagination and feeling, who walk the high wire of entertainment with such aplomb it leaves audience members giddy. When Ariana sings a€?Oh The World,a€? about an act of love so precious, it seems too good to be true. In one of her many YouTube videos, we watch as she and her father, David, play a€?Oh The Worlda€? as a duet.
When Ariana was 15 or16, she attended an Ontario Council of Folk Festivals (OCFF) Conference. When she was 16, she released a self-titled demo which had only 300 copies printed a€” primarily used for her appearance at her first conference.
At her fathera€™s urging, Ariana attended more folk conferences which continued to raise her profile.
Ariana didna€™t really become serious about music until a three-month bout with double pneumonia brought her close to death.
Arianaa€™s first album, To Make It Make Sense, was released in 2009, when she was 18 years old.
I asked Ariana about the source for the allegorical song, a€?John and the Monster.a€? She couldna€™t pinpoint anything in particular. In the video, her father, ever the supporter and mentor, sits across from her and when she finishes, he murmurs, a€?Not bad.a€? In response, Ariana laughs. When we first encountered Ariana at the 2011 NERFA last November, we were shocked to discover that the youthful-looking sideman on guitar, Dobro and mandolin was Arianaa€™s father, David. Ariana and David will be making a number of appearances in the United States this fall, and specifically the Living Room in NYC each month. We discussed the underlying truth of the fantastical story in the song a€” that something of beauty can be destroyed by a society who would imprison it and destroy its magic.
Patrick Collard - Guitar - The Stranger Song, Probably still my favourite Leonard Cohen song, full of enigmatic imagery. We had rolled into New Bedford, Mass., for the annual Summerfest on Saturday morning, July 2nd, spit out of a twister.
By Saturday, I shoulda€™ve been caught up on sleep, but struggled to find the energy for the game of musical chairs at Summerfest. Over the weekend, each of seven stages off the cobbled streets of the Whaling Museum district grew packed to overflowing.
There was no mad dash for us for the first performance at the small canopied area at the National Park Garden Stage. That first act was a€?Introducing Liz Longley.a€? This proved to be a priority-changing event. I also managed to squeeze in an on-the-spot interview at a surprisingly subdued side room at the nearby, bustling Celtic Coffeehouse. Her father was a a€?really gooda€? jazz musician who played saxophone and had his own band. Exposure to chorus was minimal in grade school, but when she reached her early teens, she started singing with her dada€™s jazz group and continued until she was 18.
Having begun writing on piano, Liz began performing with a friend, Sarah Zimmermann, who provided guitar backup.
Additionally, Liz and Sarah performed at fundraisers, in particular a€?Relay for Life,a€? held every year to raise money for cancer research.
They also played professionally at local Pennsylvania folk landmarks Steel City (Phoenixville) and The Tin Angel (Philadelphia). After high school, Berklee College of Music in Boston was the only college Liz applied to because it offered songwriting as a major. She still performs on piano when the opportunity presents itself, and thata€™s illustrated by two slow ballads on this CD where she uses her keyboard skills.
Her upcoming shows dona€™t include anything in the New York metro area, but wea€™re hoping this article will change that.
The photograph we found online for our a€?Radara€? July ad showed a drop-dead beautiful face, and we wondered if there was matching talent to back it up.
High school proved to be the seeding ground for this musical maelstrom, this force of nature.
It happened at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference last year when we first saw Ariana Gillis, and it happens over and over, every time we see her.


Ariana took piano lessons when she was young and didna€™t become interested in guitar until she got one when she was 12. When I mentioned that I found her to be a lot like Josh Ritter in her imaginative storytelling, she verified that observation, saying a€?I like it that he [Josh] tries to intertwine another story with a love songa€¦ it makes it more interesting. When Ariana was around 13, her father would take her with him when he was playing certain gigs, especially ones that hea€™d booked himself. David started calling around asking bookers for venues to let Ariana open for artists theya€™d already booked. These soul-defining experiences are the catalyst that affects the skewed stories she is compelled to tell. She got a publicist who helped her introduce her CD, getting radio airplay even before it was officially released, and who helped her get bookings a€” and they were exclusively her gigs.
Wea€™re used to it now, but it hasna€™t lost that sense of a treasured combination of father-daughter bonding in such an exalted endeavor a€” the making of music. Wednesday night, finish the July issue, then get two hours of sleep; Thursday, pedal-to-the-metal from NYC to Fall River, Mass. Newly appointed chair police at the main Custom House stage prevented attendees from saving seats for hours at a time. Seats opened up after each act and the first attendees to dash to freshly vacated chairs near the front became winners.
As usual, we arrived at the festival at about 9:00 am and the first show didna€™t begin until 11.
Liz was scheduled to perform 10 days later on July 12 at the Living Room in New York Citya€™s East Village.
From the very first notes, it was obvious that we were going to want to see and hear a lot more from this brilliant 23-year-old. I would not be jumping from tent to tent, looking for the best seats, hoping to find something near the front at the big Custom House tent. For her first eight years her family lived in West Chester, Pa., then they moved a little further west, to Downingtown. Her mother was an aspiring singer, but lacked the time and opportunity to pursue it as a career. Through her dad, shea€™d gotten exposure to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan and they were her favorites, the ones she focused on. Other events included the high schoola€™s talent show and the senior prom, with both girls performing in their prom dresses. Liz said that she entrusted major decisions in the studio to producer Glen Barrett and enlisted feedback from her parents to help her decide what, in the end, would be the right sound for her on each track.
These include a€?Little White House,a€? seemingly a farewell to her childhood, and a€?Unraveling,a€? another farewell of sorts to her grandmother, suffering from Alzheimera€™s. Her dad told her, a€?If youa€™re going to learn to have a career as a musician, youa€™d better start now.a€? Actually, performing after college was a continuation of what shea€™d been doing since high school and during her four years at Berklee. We find ourselves wondering, a€?Just how good can she get?a€? Her powerful voice, soaring through the high registers, suggests the pinnacle is not yet in sight.
During that time she thought shea€™d overcome it, but had to retreat to bed as it hadna€™t really gone away. She played recordings of her original work for the interviewer and, highly impressed, he advised her not to attend school, but to stick with her own work. Sometime soon after that six-month period, Ariana was in the studio doing the vocals for her first full CD. We learn from her bio that: a€?David Marsh played the track, a€?John and the Monstera€™ to his radio audience a€” one response was a phone call from an enthusiastic listener who wanted to know more about the unusual song, and the singer. John, dying of a brain tumor rows out to the middle of the lake and coaxes the monster out of hiding. We have all these dreamsa€¦ but it slowly starts to disintegrate in front of us and we wonder, what happened to my shiny dream?a€? Ita€™s difficult to express here, its sound and the way it packs such an emotional wallop. Then, with breathtaking suddenness it darted upward, taking the hollow in my chest along with it. The chairs were empty and there were no chair police to prevent us from saving a couple of seats for the first act.
Wea€™d see her then, of course, since we never miss WFUV DJ John Platta€™s monthly a€?On Your Radara€? series.


Instead, I followed Liz from one stage to the next, seeking the best photos and videos of her that I could get (below). Her earliest memories involve driving around with her father in the family VW convertible with the top down and music blasting from the car stereo. The lone cover, a€?People Get Ready,a€? demonstrates a command that allows her to take ownership of the song. While it did come up in our interview, her Facebook page states it more succinctly: a€?In high school, I was a marching band nerd. Likewise, her song-stories, fed by a keen mind open to both reality and parables of fantasy, spark a wonder in us. Catherine until Ariana was a year old, then moved further west to Vineland a€” about an hour south of Toronto. She also took music lessons in high school, studying oboe and upright bass and drums a€” and still wants to learn trumpet.
More often than not, it would be Ariana and a girlfriend whoa€™d do a cover song, something that the student body could relate to and that reflected the sermon that day.
David would also perform at an annual Christmas show and would have Ariana perform as well. She slept in an upright position to keep breathing, waking up every hour, each night, coughing from the fluid in her lungs. The mystery caller was Elton Johna€™s lyricist and songwriting partner Bernie Taupin.a€? Thata€™s quite a connection a€” and one hell of a quote that came out of it. As she states on her Facebook page: a€?I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and Karla Bonoff. James Taylor, Karla Bonoff, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan were among the names she cited. I was surprised that she hadna€™t sought feedback from anyone at Berklee, but kept to the formula stated above. One is a version of Joni Mitchella€™s a€?Rivera€? in which Liz hits some high notes that Joni herself might not be able to handle anymore.
At the songa€™s end, the captured monster is dying, so John, sacrificing himself, sets him free, becomes sick again and perishes. But we didna€™t know her, so we figured it would be a good idea to get acquainted before seeing her at the Living Room.
The first two use a full studio band, complete with drums, bass, lead guitar backup, pedal steel a€” the works. The second is Van Morrisona€™s a€?Moondance,a€? which gives Liz a chance to show off her jazz vocal skills.
When I wasna€™t on the field, I was writing music (on piano & guitar) and playing shows. He would constantly stop to play his guitar sitting nearby and finally gave up the piano and just stuck with the guitar.
He wanted me to get better.a€? She said that shea€™d often co-opt Patty Griffin material and turn it into something of her own. This included a a€?concert night,a€? wherein the school invited students and parents to come to a performance solely by Liz and Sarah. In contrast, her third album, the latest, Hot Loose Wire, completed right after graduation, is stripped down a€” just her, solo, with either guitar or piano a€” pretty much what we see in concert. David created his own arrangements of songs and eventually competed in the annual United States championship contest in Winfield, Kan.
Theya€™d bring in a song and other students would dissect it, asking questions like why a word was used in a particular place.
Even though her illness left her debilitated, she still managed to graduate from high school and made the honor roll. There were classes where songs by famous writers were analyzed, and Liz loved it all, soaking up every learning opportunity that came her way. He had a small career going when he was younger but gave it up and decided to help Ariana when he saw how talented she was.



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