Acclaimed singer/songwriter/guitarist Leni Stern has completed her most intense and revealing collection of songs to-date. With the May 2nd release of "Love Comes Quietly," Stern showcases her uncanny ability to paint extraordinary images amid familiar and exotic backdrops alike. The album opens with 'Cheyenne', a rumination on Native American culture, and the destruction and disrepair embodied by the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Stern sings to an apparition, "all I'd ask for is water, send us water..." amid the haunting violins of Ernesto Villa-Lobos.
On 'Inshaallah', arguably the album's centerpiece, Brahim Fribgane's Oud performance augments Stern's richly layered song, written about and for the people of the desert in Essakane, Africa. Stern recently performed at Mali's Festival in the Desert, and a photo journal of her experiences is to appear in the May issue of Guitar Player Magazine.
On 'Have Faith In Me', Stern talks of "walking the line between reason and insanity." With backing vocals by Audrey Martell and a guitar solo by Stern, this new track is one of many which highlight Stern's evolution as a songwriter and guitarist.
The 13-song CD draws upon influences as far-ranging as Africa and India, and its combination of instrumental and vocal tracks reveal Stern's growing World Music influences. On "Reseke Bare Tore Nain", for example, she features the haunting vocals of Dhanashree Pandit Rai. Much of the album was recorded on vintage analog equipment at Matt Wells' Studio in New York, giving the songs a thick, dense quality (eerily absent on much of today's all-digital music.) Stern's rock and blues guitar solos permeate throughout, providing a soulful, assertive backdrop to her fascinating lyrics. The songs feature the contributions of a community of brilliant musicians. In addition to Stern's current working band of James Genus, bass (SNL, Michael Brecker, Alice Coltrane,) Keith Carlock, drums (Sting, Steely Dan,) and Etienne Stadwijk, keyboards (Richard Bona, Nona Hendrix, Morley Kamen), the album features the artistry of vocalists Keith Fluitt, Audrey Martell, Cariad Harmon, Morley Kamen and Nhumi Threadgill; Flugelhorn: Michael Leonhart; Keyboards: Tom Canning; Drums: Brannen Temple; Sax: George Brooks; Slide Guitar: Stephen Bruton; Keyboards: Tom Canning; Bass: Paul Socolow; Percussion: Adam Rudolph; Bansuri Flute & Soprano Sax: Steve Gorn, and more.
"Love Comes Quietly" follows Stern's breakthrough CD, "When Evening Falls". National, regional, jazz and rock writers alike weighed in on the 2004 album and rewarded it with the best reviews of Stern's 19-year music career. THE WASHINGTON POST described it as "Inspired" and infused "With a Surprising Array of Colors, Textures and Rhythms". "Graceful," praised the BOSTON PHOENIX. JAZZTIMES called it "Exotic and Solemnly Beautiful." "Joni Mitchell-Meets-Marianne Faithfull,” buzzed THE ALBANY TIMES UNION. A “Fleet and Lyrical guitarist”, praised THE NEW YORKER. “Rickie Lee Jones-like...”; “A Gifted Singer-Songwriter with a Wide-Ranging Sensibility and Sophisticated Guitar and Harmonic Chops” buzzed THE BOSTON GLOBE; “A Mature and Worldly Composer” “Leading the Charge in…the New 'Folk Jazz'" declared THE BOSTON HERALD.
Stern, an accomplished Blues and Jazz guitarist, was chosen as Gibson's Female Guitarist of the Year five consecutive times. She was included, among such Stratocaster icons as Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, in Tom Wheeler's The Stratocaster Chronicles, a coffee-table book released by Fender.