Two hats, no uke

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

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Jim White, the metaphysical singer-songwriter who counts David Byrne of Talking Heads among his biggest fans, is working on a new acoustic album and asked Sylvie to sing on it with him. Jim and Sylvie first sang together at the Poisson Rouge in New York and then last year at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. Sylvie – who has been a huge fan of White’s work since his 1997 debut album The Mysterious Tale of How I Shouted Wrong-Eyed Jesus on Byrne’s Luaka Bop label – is featured singing in songs Land Called Home, Plywood Superman and Walk A While with Me.

New Year’s News

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Hi, Sylvie here. Happy new year! Hope it’s a good one for you.

So far mine’s been a whirlwind – just as it was at the end of 2014, nonstop shows, interviews and radio sessions. In fact just this morning I was being interviewed by a journalist who asked me what it felt like changing sides from writing about music to making music. A good question except that when he asked it, I was busy writing an album review for MOJO! But I did find time to write a new song over the holidays (yep, another sad one) and there’s another song simmering in my head that I can’t wait to get to.

But back to this morning’s interview. I answered that in many ways it had felt surprisingly natural to make an album, once I’d finally plucked up courage to do it. I mean, I’d always played music for myself, as well as listened to and written about it, and I’d seen the inside of enough recording studios for them not to intimidate me too much. The hardest part, I told him, was trying to grow thicker skin in time for what I assumed would be very harsh reviews – because I’d broken the first rule of music journalism, which is that a rock writer should never release a record. The old cliche goes that all rock writers are deep-down failed or frustrated musicians, and maybe there’s some truth to that, even if my “inner rockstar” stayed hidden for quite a few decades.

He asked if it was strange reading reviews of my own album – and it was, it felt surreal. One of the strangest things though was how great they’ve all been, every one of them. What’s also been great is how supportive musicians have been. One of the highlights of last year was when Jim White, whose albums I’ve loved and written about for ages, asked me to sing with him in New York City in November at a benefit for the literary magazine Radio Silence. And in February – when I get back from Cartagena, Colombia, where I’m going to be appearing as both a writer and a singer at the Hay Festival of the Americas! – I’m going to head on the road with another singer-songwrite whose music I’ve admired and reviewed, Jason McNiff.
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SS @ Jim White pancakes&whisky

Well, one of my resolutions is to try and blog more often – I’m sorry things got so busy that I didn’t get around to writing about all the great stuff that’s been going on since I released my album – trips to Oslo, Helsinki, Dublin, London, Liverpool, Winchester and now back playing in California. I’ve put links to a few videos and radio shows on my website’s Sounds page, along with some of the reviews and interviews. Another resolution is to keep my Tour page updated every few days, whenever a new show or radio session is confirmed, so please check in on that page now and then, as I’d love to see you. And if you’re a Facebookie, feel free to friend me since I post there every day.

And I’ll leave you for now with a piece I wrote on Bob Dylan for Radio Silence