"Alta Nova" might be translated as "the New High" , and the title certainly rings true. With its smart, organic pop sound, Elena's third full-length CD is easily her most exciting, well-crafted and fully realized, and was produced by Jeffrey Clark (Shiva Burlesque) and mixed by Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, Las Pesadillas). It's not a "retro" album, but unexpected cross-currents of impeccable influences like The Kinks, Joni Mitchell, Harry Nillson, and XTC consistently help make each of the 11songs on "Alta Nova" a distinctive pop gem.
The strength and vulnerability of the Nevada City, CA based singer/songwriter's voice and lyrics hold center stage on the album, but Elena's electric violin magic ups the ante on two instrumentals. All this plus scattered swirls of keyboard, edgy electric and acoustic guitars, and other fine musical brushstrokes keep "Alta Nova" ear-friendly and mind-engaging; while band partner and bass player Morgan Patton and drummer Jeff Tuttle provide classic but inventive rhythmic support throughout.
The CD will be reaching college and independent radio playlists and is distributed nationwide by Burnside Distribution. Elena Powell is also playing a residency in Amsterdam this fall to establish connections in the European market.
Elena Powell was born in Santa Cruz, CA, raised in Madison, WI and educated at University of California Berkeley, Cambridge University, England, and UCLA. Her parents, both academics and musicians, encouraged her to begin classical violin at the age of 5. Elena began playing in bands in 1988, and began singing, guitar and songwriting in 1995 in Los Angeles. After trying out different careers in illustration, filmmaking and dance, she settled on writing and performing music as a full-time occupation after seeing Patti Smith, and moved to Nevada City, CA with husband Jeff Clark. She formed Mugwort Manor Records in 1998 which released two full-length albums, "fractal hoedown" (1999) and "Left of the Moon " (2000). The third record "Alta Nova" is out July 2002.
Elena met first Morgan Patton (bass) in May 2001, after deciding to create a full-time touring band based out of Sacramento. The two met Jeff Tuttle (drums) in November and began recording "Alta Nova" together as well as playing in the Sacramento area and Northwest region. The band rehearses three times a week and will tour regionally for the 2002 summer then head off to Amsterdam for September to promote the new CD.