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April 4, 2014

Georgia roots

LOS ANGELES —  A California girl with Georgia roots, Cyndi Harvell mixes smart folk-pop and Southern charm on her newest release due out May 6. “Heartache & Revolution” is the third album from the accomplished songwriter from Thomasville, Ga. She who wrote the songs after moving to Los Angeles and adding some modern, brighter twists to her sound.

 “I’ll always have some Southern twang in my voice, no matter what I’m singing,” she said, “but this album is a bit more modern. I wrote 50 songs for the record and chose my favorites, and I leaned toward picking the upbeat, poppy ones over the folky stuff.”

 She also leaned toward tunes with a common theme: natural (and human) disaster.

 “I had a song called ‘Flood,’” she said. “I had another called ‘Avalanche.’ I knew that disasters can happen to people’s lives, too, whether you’re moving from one city to the next or going through a breakup. This album isn’t just about the things that happen, but also the way we respond to those things and how we rebuild after things get torn apart. It’s a happy album. There’s a level of hope here.”

 Harvell cut her teeth in Athens, Ga., the same college town that once nurtured bands like REM, Azure Ray and Drive-By Truckers. She absorbed all of the city’s sounds — the folky, the dreamy, the twangy, the rockin’ — and rolled them into her own music, which blurred the lines between country and pop/rock. A move to the San Francisco area in 2004 brought her face to face with famed producer Jack Douglas (Aerosmith, The Who), who took a shine to Harvell’s music and introduced her to Jim Greer. The rest is history.

 “Heartache & Revolution” is Harvell’s third album with Greer, a California producer known primarily for his work with electronic and hip-hop groups. The two couldn’t be more different... which is why they’re such good partners.

 “His brain thinks differently,” she said. “It doesn’t operate on the folk-pop brainwave, which means he has a different perspective. He’ll add a string section or programmed drums to a song. The traditional singer/songwriter style­ can get kind of stale, so it’s helpful to have some untraditional involved.”

 

 

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