Also slated for early ’08: Saint B. singer Meredith DiMenna teams with Brian Grosz as The Priestess and The Fool to cover obscure duets by Siouxsie Sioux & Morrissey, PJ Harvey & Tricky and others.
“The debut album from Connecticut’s Saint Bernadette hits the sort of notes and touches that make me weak in the knees, by expertly melding things I’m a sucker for: ballsy broads, smoke-filled jazz clubs, and, of course, the element of surprise.” -- Sentimentalist Magazine
“The music on In The Ballroom, is seductive, eclectic, sophisticated and a natural fit for [Meredith] DiMenna’s superlative voice.” -- Stamford Advocate
In The Ballroom (STREAM), Saint Bernadette’s debut album, has already received much praise from the press -- not only for the gorgeous pipes of singer Meredith DiMenna, but also for the unique sound of the record which was recorded live in the abandoned ballroom of Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Bijou Theatre (pictured on the album’s cover). The marathon three-day recording session was documented on video as well, and that footage makes up the new clip for one of the album’s stunning tracks “Pieces”. See it HERE.
Those who have seen Saint Bernadette’s live show often marvel at just how heavy its live sound can be, especially when DiMenna channels her inner Janis Joplin via a whiskey or four. This sound is documented on a new EP that will compliment In The Ballroom. The disc, I Wanna Tell You Something, is set for release in early 2008.
As if she weren’t making enough work for herself, DiMenna is also teaming up with singer Brian Grosz as The Priestess and The Fool. Upon hearing the title cut from the soundtrack of the 1982 Francis Ford Coppola film One From The Heart, an epic duet between Tom Waits and Crystal Gayle, DiMenna and Grosz began to envision retooling the song as a vanity project to keep their hands moving and their chops up. Within a short period of time, however, the two found themselves searching for more classic duets to re-invent -- and thereby their six-song EP, A Minor Work was born. View an album trailer HERE.
Slated for a January 2008 release, and available as a limited-time free download on their website (LINK), A Minor Work spans the rough riffage that we’ve come to expect from Grosz and the trademark, 60’s-inspired soul of DiMenna. We also hear the duo launch themselves into the realms of lazy country and western, a haunting beatnik dirge, “Wall Of Sound”-era pop and even a choral eulogy accompanied by a church organist.
The full track listing of The Priestess and The Fool’s A Minor Work is as follows:
“You’re The Boss” - (Elvis Presley & Ann Margaret)
“Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You?” (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong)
“One From The Heart” - (Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle)
“Broken Homes” - (PJ Harvey & Tricky)
“Interlude” - (Siouxsie Sioux & Morrissey)
“Back and Forth” - (Earl Greyhound) (MYSPACE)
More about Saint Bernadette and In The Ballroom:
Saint Bernadette Live:
12/11 New York, NY Piano’s
In The Ballroom Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
01. I Own The City (MP3)
02. Bound To Do
03. She’s a Natural
04. Money In The Air
05. Pieces (VIDEO)
06. Sidestep (MP3 VIDEO)
07. Such Ease (MP3)
08. Lay Me Down
10. No Dreams
Meredith DiMenna, a professional vocalist by day -- she is well-known as the voice of MTV’s “Chunky Pam” (VIDEO) -- gets to show off her personal side with Saint Bernadette, making beautiful, loungey music that harkens back to Motown or early Atlantic releases. To make In The Ballroom, DiMenna, and her husband, guitarist Keith “Touch” Saunders, put together the lineup that would appear on the record and went north to a small cabin in Vermont to learn and arrange the songs. Inspired and invigorated by the results, they began the search for the perfect recording location.
“We knew we wanted to record it live. Because of the instrumentation, the dynamics depend on a real-time push and pull between the different elements and we felt we couldn’t achieve that in an overdubbing situation,” says Saunders. “We really wanted the record to reflect the energy of a live show.”
Recent transplants to Bridgeport, DiMenna and Saunders found that a local redevelopment project, the historic Bijou Theatre, was hiding a large and beautiful ballroom circa 1908 on the second floor. The developers gave the band permission to use the space for five days – one each to load in, load out and three to record. The album was recorded completely live - with everyone in the same room at the same time. It was nearly non-stop recording, except on breaks to go to the bar next door and keep tabs on the World Cup. When recording was finished, the band took the record to Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Mates of State, Tokyo Police Club) of Bridgeport-based Tarquin Studio.
“Not only is he in Bridgeport, which was important to us – we really wanted it to be a hometown effort – but he’s also really talented. Working with him in his studio was a great experience,” says DiMenna. Saunders adds, “We had to wait a few months for him because he was busy working on The National, which was so hard since we were so excited about the recording, but it was well worth the wait.”
Lastly, famed hip hop producers, Black Panther and Shaad Almighty have decided to put their own take on In The Ballroom and are working on remixes of the album tracks “Lay Me Down” and “Money In The Air”. More information on the remixes will be announced in the near future.
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