Donna Lewis - vocals
David King - drums
Reid Anderson - double bass
Ethan Iverson - piano
Ron Affif - guitar (Walk On By)
David Torn - electric guitar textures on Crazy, Brand New Day, Helpless, Amie, Walk On By
Recorded at The Clubhouse Recording Studio, Rhinebeck, NY, USA
Produced and arranged by David Torn
Engineered by D. James Goodwin, assisted by Bella Blasko
Mixed by D. James Goodwin at The Isokon, Woodstock, NY
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterlind Sound, NYC
Project Manager - Martin Harris
Executive Producer for Whirlwind Recordings - Michael Janisch
Under exclusive license from Acme Tracks
released June 17, 2016
ABOUT THE ALBUM
‘I Love You Always Forever’ was such a huge hit for the multi-platinum artist Donna Lewis; a #1 chart hit / dance-pop classic for which people around the globe still have boundless affection - the 1996 song will always be the one for which many fans know her. But the Welsh native is an artist of many dimensions, as she has demonstrated with efforts ranging from At the Beginning, her charming duet with Richard Marx from the Anastasia soundtrack, to Be Still, her lovely voice and piano album. True to its title, her eagerly awaited new album, Brand New Day, is a striking departure from anything she has done before. Produced by her longtime friend and collaborator David Torn, who arranged all the songs, Brand New Day redefines her as an artist while maintaining the wonderful open qualities her fans love.
Lewis’ fifth studio recording is an intimate, jazz-inflected covers/original album. The conservatory-trained daughter of a semi-professional jazz pianist has heretofore forged her place in the pop world through styles like atmospheric art pop, singer/songwriter folk, traditional jazz, and classical. While Donna's last album, 2008's In the Pink, was heavily electronic, Brand New Day explores a much more stripped-down acoustic sound. Lewis has toured often in a duo setting, accompanying herself on piano with a bassist at her side; here, however, she pares down her focus even further by handling only the vocals, leaving all instrumental duties with the capable trio featuring pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King, who are perfectly suited to back Lewis on this project.
Along with three originals (the languid 'Sleep', the title track 'Brand New Day' and a ruminative reworking of 'I Love You Always Forever'), Lewis and her trio delve into a handful of inspired cover songs that cross stylistic boundaries from the fantastical latter-David Bowie number 'Bring Me The Disco King', to Fred Neil's 'Everybody's Talkin' at Me', to Damien Rice's 'Amie'. What's particularly invigorating here is how untethered Iverson, Anderson and King perform. As a trio, they interact clearly, fluidly and adventurously on Brand New Day, while creating a generous space for her intimate and warm vocal delivery. Donna digs into these songs with care and expertise, drawing out her phrases and enveloping a tune in multiple layers of meaning. This is perhaps best expressed in her delicate reworking of Chocolate Genius' 1998 soul ballad 'My Mom', in which Lewis takes an already heart-wrenching song about watching a parent succumb to dementia and brings out the most poignant, tender aspects of the piece via her soft, lilting vocal delivery. Much like on the rest of Brand New Day, the singer's delicate tone contrasts subtly with her experienced choices, creating a beautiful and fascinating dichotomy.