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CD Review: Tillery

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Tillery Tillery

(2016, Independent)

Rebecca Martin, Becca Stevens, and Gretchen Parlato are each celebrated vocalists, musicians, and songwriters in their own right. Together, their unique talents make up the harmonious, earthy, and soothing Tillery. The trio was birthed in Kingston, where Martin lives, after an improtu sing-along during an all-girl getaway in 2010. Although much of their individual experiences originate or stem from the New York jazz world, their collaborative debut album veers toward coffeehouse-infused pop and folk and is focused on three-part vocal harmonies with subtle, yet intricate and thoughtfully placed, guitar, ukelele, and charango strings.

The voices and instruments weave complex textures in and through rhythmic arrangements that are sometimes unconventional but always inviting. There is a timely and tender cover of Prince's "Take Me with U," as well as an engaging take on Michael Jackson's "Push Me Away." A couple of the originals lean into vocal onomatopoeia stylings where voices become instruments a la Bobby McFerrin. Although there is no fear of eccentricity, the music is welcoming and warm and there is no clash of talents. The mutual respect and admiration of the three chanteuses lovingly gifts the music without killing it with preciousness. The album was recorded at the Clubhouse in Rhinebeck by Pete Rende, who makes an appearance on keyboard; also supporting the singers are bassist Larry Grenadier (Martin's husband) and drummer Mike Guilana. "May this music bring moments of peace amidst troubled times," offers Parlato. Tillerygals.com.

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