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Posts Tagged ‘jazz standard’

Think you’ve heard too many covers of “Stars Fell on Alabama”? Well, think again.

Tara Nevins, a member of the roots-rock band Donna the Buffalo, has created a unique version of the 1934 jazz standard, adhering to the original lyrics but changing the melody significantly.

Her cover, which appears on Nevins’ new solo album, “Wood and Stone,” makes the tune sound like old-time mountain music, with instrumentation and vocals to match.

Read the Full report here: http://blog.al.com/mcolurso/2011/09/tara_nevins_cover_of_stars_fel.html

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New Music Video: “Stars Fall on Alabama” by Tara Nevins

Filmed and produced by Jim Torres

From the Album “Wood And Stone” on Sugar Hill Records

American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins’ new release ‘Wood and Stone’ showcases Nevins’ ever-evolving repertoire and was produced by Larry Campbell at the Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. Featured guests on the album include Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams, The Heartbeats, along with the core band of Larry Campbell, Justin Guip, and Byron Isaacs.

CMT writes, “With the wonderful fiddle groove and vividly written lyrics, Nevins gives a glimpse into her roots. Stepping out for a rare solo record (beyond her beloved band, Donna the Buffalo), she meshes her Cajun influences, unique voice, drums and steel guitars for an intriguing look at her heritage.”

One of the songs that stands out is Nevins’s version of the Jazz standard “Stars Fell on Alabama.”

A few years ago, living in Huntsville, Alabama, Nevins was approached by director Jim Torres and was asked to adapt “Stars Fell On Alabama” for the movie he was then directing – “20 Years After” (an MTI Video). Torres states, “I was looking for a song that had romantic lyrics and a geographical reference to Alabama which is where the movie took place. I’ve always loved Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong’s version of the song, and the lyrics were perfect for the movie, but I needed something a little darker, almost melancholy to match the tone of the film. I met Tara through mutual friends on the film project and we talked. I loved her music, and the thought of adapting a Jazz standard intrigued her.”

Nevins used the original lyrics and rewrote the music in an Old Time Mountain Music style. She created the new melody for the lyrics and wrote a fiddle tune as the centerpiece of the instrumental sections. She then went up to Nashville and recorded the song with Gary Paczosa.

Nevins states, “when the movie came out I put the song up on MySpace. It was also put, with just an abstract picture, up on YouTube. Between the two, the song has had nearly 60,000 views and comments. I continually receive messages from folks who’ve seen “20 Years After” saying it was their favorite thing in the movie and where can they get a copy of my version of the song? I decided to put “Stars Fell On Alabama” on my new record because of that, and because I think it is beautiful and it fit perfectly with the rest of the record.”

Here it is, yet another version of this great Jazz standard – different from all the others with an Old Time Country sound. This version is of interest to anyone who knows the song, and has had a great response from those who have heard it. It’s reference to Alabama has alot of meaning for Nevins personally and this version has seemed to touch the hearts of many listeners living in Alabama.

It seemed like the perfect song from “Wood and Stone” to do a video of. Like Jim Torres says “We wanted the video to stand on its own, and let it support the music – just Tara and her fiddle and a beautiful song.”

Here is what the press is saying about “Stars Fell on Alabama”
“…….. even though I am familiar with at least two dozen other renditions of the song, it’s as though I heard it for the first time. It is stunning in its quietness.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression

“Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.” – Acousticana Journal

“ … it’s a track sounds like it was from the O’Brother Where Art Thou? sessions…. the haunting “Stars Fell On Alabama,” where once again Nevins shows her prowess on the fiddle” – Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville:

“Three deftly picked covers include the standard “Stars Fell on Alabama” (from the film 20 Years After),….Nevins works some real magic here” – Hyperbolium

“……… a dynamite reading of “Stars Fell on Alabama,” – The Daily News

The music video for “Stars Fell on Alabama” was created by Director/Editor Jim Torres, Assistant Director Keith Sims, and Cinematographer Daniel Beard in July of 2011 in Huntsville, Alabama.

Visit www.TaraNevins.com for more information about the album, a gallery of images, videos, music, and lyrics.

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Intimate interview with Tara Nevins on the making of the song “Tennessee River” off the new album “Wood and Stone” (Sugar Hill 2011)

Filmed and produced by JAMerica‘s Peter Conners and Denver Miller


“‘Stars Fell On Alabama’ is Tara’s version of an old standard, while ‘Tennessee River’ sounds like she’s written a new standard.” – Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association

“The highlight of the record, though, might be “Tennessee River”, a song that again sees Nevins turning introspective as crunchy, distorted guitars creak in the background a la 1970s Neil Young. In fact, this song could easily be an outtake from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, with a different vocalist. Again, the disparate elements come together powerfully to provide a neat bookend for the hard-charging opening track. At five minutes, it’s the longest song on the album and one of its most satisfying. “ – David Maine, Pop Matters

“Two surprises on the album are “Stars Fell on Alabama,” in which Nevins turns the ‘30s jazz standard into a bleak, gothic soundscape, and “Tennessee River,” an even more desolate turn recalling the best of Lucinda Williams.” – Aaron Keith Harris, Lonesome Road Review

“‘Tennessee River,’ a dark and gripping song about love’s place in ones’ life, features Campbell’s harrowing, electric guitar wails.” – Bill Clifford – Relix

“If heroes and heroines of rock ‘n’ roll are defined by their uniqueness, they definitely broke the mold when they made Tara Nevins.” – Wildman Steve, The Corner News

“‘Wood and Stone’ is strangely hypnotic at times, with its mesmerizing rhythms and Nevins’ relaxed but commanding delivery. The beautifully dark “Tennessee River” and her cover of the jazz standard, ‘Stars Fell On Alabama,’ are entrancing and highlight Nevins’ beautiful voice” – Boone Mountain Times

“Tara channels swampy accordion and mountain fiddles through a set of songs about heartaches and a longing for the sanctity of family values and a simple home life. The chemistry between Nevins and Campbell cooks up a powerfully convincing sound through tracks like Down South Blues, The Wrong Side and You’re Still Driving That Truck as the duo’s varied strings entwine. But the star turn is the brooding Tennessee River with its big, fat, shimmering guitars and broken heart laid bare. Terrific.” – Properganda

“With the wonderful fiddle groove and vividly written lyrics, Nevins gives a glimpse into her roots. Stepping out for a rare solo record (beyond her beloved band, Donna the Buffalo), she meshes her Cajun influences, unique voice, drums and steel guitars for an intriguing look at her heritage.” – CMT

“A tour de force from start to finish” – Kay Cordtz, Elmore

Visit Tara Nevins website www.TaraNevins.com for more information about the album, a gallery of images, videos, music, and lyrics.

JAMerica is is dial book/ documentary film project that will tell the story of the roots and evolution of the Jam and Festival Scene. Visit www.jamerica.net

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