“I’ve been searching for a way to tell my own story, both as a singer/songwriter and as a piano player,” Regen says from his home in New York City. “I’ve made jazz records, and pop records, but never one that managed to meld the two into something that represents both sides of my split personality. On this one, everything just fell into place.”
Produced by multi-instrumentalist Brad Albetta (Martha Wainwright, Teddy Thompson), and mixed by legendary British producer John Porter (Ryan Adams, BB King, The Smiths), LET IT GO feels both resoundingly fresh and reassuringly familiar. The album features 12 newly-penned Regen originals, and guest appearances by some of today’s most innovative artists.
“I wanted each song to tell its own story,” Regen says. ‘Close To Me’ is about a girl that took my breath away – I was literally in physical pain over the break-up. Andy (Summers) came-in, and without a word, he played those haunting guitar lines that totally capture the longing in the song. Music is like that – it cuts to the chase.”
On ‘I Come Undone,’ singer Martha Wainwright guests. “I wrote that song after losing a friend of mine,” Regen says. “Martha’s voice really brings-out the heartbreak – the emptiness that lingers. She is one in a million.”
Other album cameos include cellist Julia Kent (Norah Jones, Antony & The Johnsons), drummer Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, Rufus Wainwright), guitarist Jimmy Vivino (Late Night with Conan O’Brien), and singer Kami Thompson, (daughter of famed songsmiths Richard and Linda Thompson, and sister of musician Teddy).
Almost as surprising as the roster of A-list guest artists, is the fact that Regen recorded LET IT GO live in the studio, singing and playing piano in real-time. With the exception of backing vocals and a few instrumental overdubs, everything on the record was recorded in one pass.
“We cut the record live,’ Regen says. “I came-up playing jazz, where you didn’t have the time or the luxury to redo a vocal or bring in a different band. And so that mantra of getting it right the first time has always stuck with me.”
“The other thing is,” Regen continues, “I was a piano player first, so it’s almost physically impossible for me to sing without sitting at the piano – my body just won’t do it! So it’s really out of necessity that I record everything live – I guess I’m old-school in that regard.”
The limited edition CD version of LET IT GO features a 12 page full-color booklet with photographs by Merri Cyr and complete album lyrics.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT LET IT GO...
**** FOUR STARS. It's hard not to be drawn in by Regen's emotional ballad "Better Days" and the bittersweet "Photographs of You." Recommended.
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
Regen, a singer-songwriter in only the best possible way, is a soulful performer, fluid and engaging on vocals and piano..."Better Days" and "The Last Song" are the kinds of heart-rending piano-led ballads Chris Martin of Coldplay would cut off all ties to the Paltrow tribe to have written.
Tracks range from the Randy Newmanesque "It's Alright By Me", which sounds like a strong contender for the next Pixar movie soundtrack, to a brace of tunes featuring guitarist Andy Summers - the hypnotic "Close To Me" and "Finding My Way Back to Me" (whose opening riff sounds like a very close relation of "Don't Stand So Close To Me"). Regen displays an impressively wide pianistic touch, hitting the piano so hard in the title track you can almost feel the vibration of the strings, caressing the notes in the touching ballad "Better Days".
It’s Regen’s own writing and crooning that carry the day here: “Better Days,” “Disappear” and the title tune make the most impact with no “name” assistance whatsoever. Regen’s proven himself a master of jazz and pop...
This pianist's no amateur: His CD "Let It Go" (Sandfish) features Andy Summers of the Police and Martha Wainwright. There are hints of Bruce Hornsby and Van Morrison about it and the songwriting lifts it a notch.
Despite the star potential lending a helping hand, it is still the magnificent verses and glorious choruses which put their stamp on this record – as well as Regen’s voice, which unobtrusively claims center stage shining like silken sandpaper. In a way, therefore, Let it Go is another manifestation of the mystery and magic of music: You can tour the planet, sell thousands of records and grace the covers of glossy magazines, but no marketing budget in the world could make songs about the torture of wanting, the cruelty of love and the solitude of a room after she’s left sound this credible.
Radio-friendly pop tunes, featuring rich lyrics, cool and honest vocals, and grooving piano and organ playing...Like (Bruce) Hornsby, Regen has facility, hipness, and the confidence to pull it off.
Regen comes out swinging with the album's title track and continues to impress with songs that include "Close to Me" and "Finding My Way Back to Me."
CHARLESTON POST & COURIER
Let It Go is a wonderful album - it's full of depth, emotion and feeling from the beginning to the end. I've found it to be a very relatable album, with songs such as Photographs of You and I Come Undone.
CARRY YOU AWAY
Perfectly poised contemporary pop...Let It Go is another significant milestone in Regen’s burgeoning career, and represents a consolidation of his composing aptitude and an inspired indicator of his progressive pianistic skills.
Regen skillfully proves that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Sentimental ballads such as “Better Days” and “Photographs of You” are certain to pop on a soundtrack or a TV show in the near future and lead single “Let it Go,” certainly has a rollicking movement to it that would make Michael McDonald smile.
RESIDENT MEDIA PUNDIT
Sometimes an album just hits the mark. Let it Go is one of those records. There is something to it that just feels like home. Jon Regen has taken on the singer/songwriter genre from a point of view not often seen. The New Jersey native has a Jazz pedigree but the heart of a pop songwriter with the ability to make words and music move your heart through the arc of a relationship’s highs and lows.
A little Dave Matthews vocal warble and a lot of the serious side of Ben Folds saturates the record... His style–and musical complexity–was influenced by his time with jazz players Jimmy Scott and Kenny Barron, and the pristine sound of the piano on the record can be attributed to Steinway giving him the keys to its storied warehouse, letting him record with whatever grand he pleased. No question, Let it Go isn’t kids’ stuff, it’s for grownups. If you dig nuanced and introspective music–and you also appreciate excellent piano work, check out Jon Regen. He’s your guy.
Let It Go has high folkpop credibility, with production work from the same guys who work with Teddy Thompson and Ryan Adams, and support from Martha Wainwright on vocals and the distinctive guitarwork of Andy Summers of The Police, but Regen's original songwriting and stellar performance are the real find here.
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