Paula Frazer & Tarnation’s “Now It’s Time” new LP out 26th February 2007

From the very beginning, the band Tarnation was the brainchild of chanteuse Paula Frazer. The band changed from record to record, often even between tours. The only constants: songwriter/singer Paula Frazer, and a sound: a sombre, moody sound that carried an olde western quality with a sixties pop sensibility. It was that sound that caught the ear of music industry legend Ivo Watts-Russell and prompted him to sign the band to 4AD, during the last phase of the labels renaissance.

After the genre defining Gentle Creatures and the critically acclaimed MIRADOR (on Reprise in the US, 4AD in Europe), Paula walked away from the name Tarnation, in order to free herself from the structure that the band-concept inevitably imposed. She also used the freedom to explore a new sound, taking from the old, adding a lush symphonic feel that was bigger¦more majestic. As a solo artist, she released two phenomenal records and a compilation of four-track recordings, featuring demos from the Tarnation era.

But the Tarnation legend never went away. Every interviewer asked the inevitable question: why did Paula walk away from Tarnation? What happened to the band? Paulas constant answer: Tarnation was a project featuring a revolving cast of musicians creating a sound that Frazer orchestrated. And until now, that sound had been put aside for the sound she perused on her solo records.

But something happened during one recent San Francisco summer that caused Frazer to resurrect the name TARNATION, while also keeping her solo identity. A batch of songs was created during a month-long period of time that contained the moody, somber flavor tasted last during the Mirador years. A lonely sound, sparse and beautiful. And it was with this new repertoire that Frazer decided to put a band back together.

The result: Now Its Time, by PAULA FRAZER AND TARNATION. Now Its Time reconnects with Tarnations past presenting an olde tyme sound with whisping swirls of guitars and strings, wonderfully framing Paula Frazers signature angelic voice. The songs are those of loss, of sorrow¦but as usual find warmth and comfort within the notes. The immediacy of the songwriting and recording add a pure and fluid sensibility to Frazers voice that has not been heard before.

The band consists of Frazer, longtime collaborator Patrick Main on piano, and Jasmyn Wong on drums. But honestly, the show belongs to Frazer, who can play any instrument she lays her hands on and who recorded much of the record in her classic Victorian house in the famed Bernal Heights area of San Francisco on a 1/4″ 8 track tape machine.

Augusts Song opens the record with a question to a lost lover, wondering if he is happy now that he is wondering alone. Sleeping Dreams, one of the most beautiful songs Frazer has ever written, paints a picture from the other viewpoint, of the lover left alone, silent and temporarily lost. And while the album carriers with it a lost, sorrow-filled message, it presents it with grace and beauty that allows the listener to engage the emotions that at one time or another, everyone feels (as is the role of true art).

Other album highlights include Pretend, where the character played by the sole guitar meets a beautiful quartet of strings, reminiscent of those used by Nick Drake. First Sign incorporates the sounds from last years solo record LEAVE THE SAD THINGS BEHIND, fueled by a rolling groove and a chorus that is lush and fragrant. NOWHERE is a Cormick McCarthy type of lyrical ballad such that Paula last employed when writing The Well over twelve years ago. The Moore Brothers add wonderful backing vocals. Finally, Now Its Time, the title track, ends the record with a sign of hope¦of a bright future.

Paula Frazer was born to a minister in the south and sang in his church choir at the age of four. She moved to San Francisco in the early eighties, where she played in various punk rock vegan-ish bands and even had a stint in the infamous FRIGHTWIG. In the early nineties, she found her true artistic voice the start of Tarnation. For the rest of the story, start from the top of this page.

Paula Frazer & Tarnation: Now Its Time
Release Date: 26th February 2007
Catalogue No: BMR096
Label: Birdman Records

www.myspace.com/paulafrazer
www.birdmanrecords.com

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