seela's new record is like a ride with a stranger. Just hop on in, hold on tight, and keep your hand near the door handle. "Hard Times Hit", seela's 3rd record, finds her in no mood to give a crap what anyone else thinks about her.
It's a terse, hairy travelogue that makes a broad round trip from
cautious beginnings to brutal endings and back again. Musically loose, rich and varied, it's scary, it's beautiful, and it's anchored by that big, luscious voice, alternately calm, mad, hurt and searching. It's about as comforting as a kidnapping can be.
Who the *&!# is seela?
A long time ago, but not too long ago, seela was born in Cornwall, Ontario. She had an Average Youth, battling the forces of evil with her superhuman strength, etc...
After a series of events that did not kill her, seela wound up in Austin, TX where she met producer Brian Beattie. They made two records together while completely ignoring the outside world. Then the move to New York happened. (as it does...)
While in New York, seela managed to gig weekly (at places like the Livingroom, CBGB's Gallery and the Sidewalk Café), worked as a producer and session vocalist, and kept on writing. Much of this writing is what makes up "Hard Times Hit", seela's third record of original material. (Did we mention she's also a jazz singer?) Common sense and a lack of money brought her back to Austin where she now resides.
Her voice is deep and fluid, with an ease of phrasing that's almost conversational. From the sublimely innocent to the most perverse, it's easy to believe her. Many parts desolate yet surprisingly sweet, Hard Times Hit speaks of love, loss, unfortunate circumstances and being a loser, without ever losing sight of beauty or hope.
Seela's "dumb luck perfect" band has been playing with her every other Sunday night at Tambaleo (used to be the Electric Lounge). The line up features: Jon Greene on drums (Matt the Electrician, TOrcH, Craig Ross, the Barbers. Jon can also be heard on 2 tracks of Patty Griffin's new record due out early next year), Darwin Smith on electric guitar (Blu Sanders, David Baerwald and the New Folk Underground, Blue Sid Honey), Tom Pearson on bass (Matt the Electrician) and Ephraim Owens on trumpet (Blaze, the Ephraim Owens Group, TOrcH). Darwin Smith also produced the first track on the record, "Under the Influence."
The album features these musicians plus Stan Smith (clarinet), Craig Ross (guitar), Mike Porter (bass) and Brian Beattie (bass, organ and other noises).
Produced by Brian Beattie (Okkerville River, K. McCarty, The Dead Milkmen) and seela, the new album, Hard Times Hit was written and recorded during one of seela's most trying times. These songs could be the soundtrack to anyone's story.
This album could be pop music you won't be embarrassed to admit you like.
Seela is still a completely independent outfit. You can also catch her singing with the Austin jazz group TorCH, onstage singing back-up for Matt the Electrician or in your neighborhood playground swinging on swings around 4 in the afternoon.
seela lives in Austin, Texas. She likes cooking, nice smells, feather pillows, and the sky...among other things. Wanna know more?