WENDY FLOWER - FOREVER - “NEW”
Creating a follow-up to a masterpiece - it can be daunting.
Iconic singer-songwriter Wendy Flower has made a triumphant return with “New,” her first new pop album since 1969’s Wendy & Bonnie folk-rock-psych-jazz cult classic, “Genesis.”
Wendy herself created the intricate, multi-layered harmonies for this 2013 release. Many talents helped with the project.
A gifted producer, Adam Rossi (Luce, Megan Slankard, Brad Wolfe) teamed with Wendy to bring the work to fruition. Many talents helped with the project. The late Trish Keenan (one of Wendy’s great inspirations) and James Cargill, both of Broadcast, joined on the gothic “In The Attic.”
Flower’s diverse sonic canvas goes spanning her epic, mini-symphonies, “Cinders,” “Skyways,””Flaws” and “Child’s Play,” the poignant Americana of “Faded Rose,” the jazzy, breezy “WInd Chimes,” the sunshine pop of “The Corner,” the heavenly vocal blending on “One Last Dream,” the continental, flamenco sound of “Jamais Toujours,” the nostalgic “Ferris Wheel” and the haunting folk-rocker “Kindness of Strangers.” The album contains a bonus track, the classic rock-sounding “Long Night,” as well as a never-before-heard Wendy & Bonnie snippet. Every track holds its own stylistic surprise. “New” was well worth the wait.
The album’s musicians included (journalist/screenwriter/songwriter); Gawain Mathews, lead guitar (Mickey Hart Band, Ben Lee, Tim Hockenberry); Ezra Lipp, drums and percussion (Kacey Johansing, Sean Hayes, Huckle, Thao Nguyen); Paul Olguin, electric and acoustic bass (Mary Wells, Victor Krummenacher, Bob Weir, Mazzy Star, Maria Muldaur), Savannah Jo Lack, electric and acoustic violin (Alanis Morissette, Rod Stewart, Ruth Gerson), Joe Cohen, saxophone, clarinet (Thomas Dolby, Jazz Mafia, Pamela Rose) and Paul Freeman (romper), acoustic guitar and writer of several of the songs.
Melody and harmony have always played a major role in the life of Wendy Flower. Daughter of a jazz drummer and a big band singer, Wendy, born in San Francisco, learned to play violin, piano, guitar, song flute and melodic percussion. She became lead vocalist of Bay Area band Crystal Fountain.
In 1969, in their early teens, Wendy and her sister Bonnie recorded the now classic “Genesis” album. It was produced by jazz great Gary McFarland. Session players included Larry Carlton, Jim Keltner and Mike Melvoin. Though it was garnering interest from radio, TV and press, the album disappeared, due to the bankruptcy of the label, Skye Records.
Wendy subsequently sang with other Bay Area bands,and, with Bonnie, recorded jingles and added vocals on sessions with prominent artists, such as Cal Tjader.
Wendy earned her early childhood education degree, taught music and released the children’s album, “Flower Power.”
Meanwhile, “Genesis” had become a cult favorite. Interest from such artists as Stereolab and Broadcast, as well as producers Irwin Chusid and Mike Alway led to the album’s release on CD via the Sundazed label. It earned rave reviews from worldwide critics.
"Unashamedly pretty and deceptively complex, and any fan of late '60s soft pop has to hear it... a remarkable album." - Amplifier
Innovative Welsh band Super Furry Animals chose a sample from “By The Sea,” from “Genesis,” to open their “Phantom Power” CD. While playing San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore Theater in 2003, they invited Wendy to join them on stage. She performed a duet of the band’s “Hello Sunshine” with front man Gruff Rhys to a standing, cheering, full house. SFA included the rehearsal of that number in their DVD documentary “American Sasquatch.”
Overcoming chronic pain and health battles, she sang with the band in following years at New York City’s The Tonic and London’s ICM. In June 2007, Wendy was warmly received as the closing act at the U.K.’s Llama Festival. Backing her were Jane Weaver (Misty Dixon), as well as members of Major Dawson, Booger Red, Beep Seals, All Traps Set, and Romper.
She then played the Meltdown Festival, which was curated by Jarvis Cocker. Sean O’Hagan and the High Llamas backed her at that show, where she was featured as one of the “Lost Ladies of Folk,” along with Susan Christie and Bonnie Dobson. Again Jane Weaver joined her on harmonies. Reviewer Shaz on Sunshine Pop said, “Such a showman! She had the same distinct resonance she had when she was 16, and the notes she reached! Wow!”
And “Wow!” is what fans will be exclaiming when they hear Wendy’s latest creation, “New.” It’s here at last!