Reviews for UNSUNG

Unsung Cover Painting by Vanessa LivelyFrom here at home:

Jan Seides “UNSUNG””Seasoned writer/composer Jan Seides’ new release “Unsung” is the prefect holiday gift for the listener interested in the true meaning of the season.  Crafted from biblical books, Seides lyrics are well organized, succinct and easily followed.  As well as historically accurate, the tracks melodies fit the songs to enhance the listener’s interest, with true colors.  In addition to bringing in respected engineer/producer Bradley Kopp for recording, Kopp’s rhythm and lead guitar work are stellar.  Bradley and wife Lorrie Singer also add perfectly placed harmonies throughout the recording.  One more note worth mentioning is the high recording quality created by engineer Bradley Kopp, who knocked it out of the ballpark, with perfect mic placement. Two thumbs up on a great project!” … Tom Tranchilla, Host: Songwriters Studio, KPFT, 90.1, Houston, A Pacifica Network Station

“Every now and again I get a CD that I start playing and find myself getting totally immersed and not wanting the music to stop. Jan Seides’ most recent CD, UNSUNG, is just such an album. It’s hard to pick out a favorite song. They are all GREAT!!!! I have always been a fan of Jan’s, but this album is amazing!!!!! Every component of the album: vocals, harmonies, melodies, instrumentation, production — OUTSTANDING! Her songs are compelling, mesmerizing, haunting, etc. They will definitely pull the listener in. Here’s a warning to the listener….make sure you set aside enough time when you start listening to this album…you are not going to want to stop!!!! This 
album deserves airplay all over the world!” … Jon Stein, Host: Hootenanny Cafe, WTBQ.com

“Singer-songwriter Jan Seides may well be based in Austin, but she’s a hardly a typical Texas troubadour. Though she tells it like it is, with an honest-to-goodness style that’s incredibly effective, she does so with a level of polished sophistication, which has led previous reviewers to describe her sound as Patty Griffin meets Broadway. Intrigued? I certainly was, and she doesn’t disappoint… Leceister Bangs, UK

Musician/Songwriter Peer Quotes:

“I gotta tell you, this is the most accomplished album I’ve heard by you – your singing and your songs are top-notch, the production is excellent too. Nice work my dear.” …. Jeffrey Glenn Tveraas, Musician/Songwriter

Hey Jan! First off, the CD sounds fabulous!  You and Bradley did a phenomenal job” … Joel McColl, Musician/Songwriter

Unsung” gives voice to previously unheard biblical women (mostly). Some have no name but all have much to say. “Your Neighbor’s Garden is MeToo for the OT> The lyrics are keenly evocative; the music, engaging. NPR worthy. I listened to the CD in one sitting, alone uninterrupted, while on a long, cross-country drive. “Your Neighbor’s Garden” was a tearful epiphany. Thanks.” … Phil Seawell, Musician/Songwriter

From across the pond:

“Unsung is the sixth album by the Texan singer-songwriter Jan Seides. I was not yet familiar with her music and was completely surprised after the first listen. In addition to a beautiful voice, Jan Seides also has the ability to write cool folk songs and the 12 songs on this album are wonderful. A must for modern folk enthusiasts and also a good reason to listen to her previous albums”….Musiekwereled.co.za – South Africa

“American singer-songwriter Jan Seides from Austin, Texas started her musical career at the age of three when she got to know music. A year later a piano came into the house, and Jan began to strum on it. For 14 years she took piano lessons, and explored at the University of Texas, School of Music, folk, classical, jazz, pop, rock and country. Later she also learned to play acoustic guitar, moved to New York City, and then to Austin. She started touring the country, and even made the crossing to the UK and Europe. In 1992 she released her debut “Slowly But Surely”. With this new album she is already in her fifth release, which contains 12 of her own compositions. Her inspiration comes from the Bible. Jan got reinforcements from Lorrie Singer and Bradley Kopp as singers, and from Bradley Kopp on guitar. “And So I Followed” is about Mary Magdalene, while “Rachel’s Sister” is more about Leah. And so it goes on, numerous Biblical women are discussed, such as “Delilah’s Lament”, “Mom Always Liked You Best”, “Not Their Fault”, etc. Acoustic folk with a religious touch”…..Patrick Van de Wiele – Keys and chords online music magazine, UK

Jan Seides is an American folk singer and songwriter from Austin, Texas, who debuted on record with her album “Slowly But Surely” in 1992, which in the trade press immediately yielded comparisons with, among others, Nanci Griffith and Joni Mitchell. This was followed by several albums with “Everyday People” from 2002, “Family Album” from 2007 and “Siren Song” from 2013.

“This year a fifth studio album by Jan Seides was released in the spring under the title “Unsung” with twelve new compositions of her own, which she sang together with Lorrie Singer and Bradley Kopp. The most striking feature of this record is that all songs only include instrumental accompaniment of acoustic guitars, played by album producer Bradley Kopp and Jan Seides themselves.

“On the video accompanying this review you can hear and see an acoustic live rendition of the song “Rachel’s Sister”. It is the second track on this album, an album that once again proves that the best folk songs are still brought into the good old troubadour style, without many frills or instrumental delights. A selection of the most beautiful songs on “Unsung” is as follows: “Your Neighbor’s Garden”, “Mighty Goliath”, the slightly influenced by blues music “Mom Always Liked You Best” and “Because It’s Gonna Rain”.

“Jan Seides was born in Detroit as the daughter of Jewish parents and she grew up in New York. She has always been fascinated by religion and the Bible stories, and from those historical texts she usually left when writing the new songs for the album “Unsung”. For example, “Rachel’s Sister” is a biblical story about Leah, whose husband Jacob first wanted to marry Rachel, but was forced to marry her sister Leah. “Your Neighbor’s Garden” also starts from a biblical story about David who raped the woman Bathsheba, made her pregnant and killed her husband. Fun and inventive if you can turn such a terrible event and other Bible stories never before told into such beautiful, melancholic folk songs”- www.rootstime.be (Belgium)

“A concept album of sorts, the Detroit-born, Texas-based Jewish singer-songwriter’s latest album is a collection of a dozen songs inspired by and based on often overlooked women in the Bible, played on just acoustic guitars and packaged with a book containing lyrics, illustrations and short commentaries about each song. It opens in the New Testament with ‘And So I Followed’, the story of Mary Magdalene, putting to rights the misconception that she was a prostitute who washed Christ’s feet, then it’s back to Genesis and ‘Rachel’s Sister’, a bittersweet account of Jacob’s two wives, told from the perspective of the less favoured Leah (whose father deceived Jacob into marrying first), the theme of sibling rivalry returning in ‘Mom Always Liked You Best’, a ragtime retelling of the story of Esau and Jacob. Envy, lust, murder and desire are staple biblical ingredients, and so we get ‘Your Neighbor’s Garden’ which, suitably sounding like something from a spaghetti western, recounts how Bathsheba was raped and impregnated by David, who also killed her husband. Naturally, mention of a David inevitably prompts ‘Mighty Goliath’ and, sung from his perspective and invested with a degree of sympathy, his death at the hands of the boy and his slingshot. And on the subject of strongmen, inevitably along comes ‘Delilah’s Lament’, a revisionist, more complicated account of the woman who brought about Samson’s downfall (“I only took the money ’cause it meant that I’d be free”).

“There’s playfulness here too. ‘Dear Momma’ is in the form of a letter home by Solomon’s latest wife finding being married to a king with an insatiable sexual appetite isn’t all it’s cracked up to be (“He doesn’t sing like his father did/At least not when he’s with me/But he’s built a beautiful temple, Momma/And he writes decent poetry”), signing off because he’s been turfed out of the bedroom to make way for the Queen of Sheba.

“Elsewhere, the cast list includes Tamar (the fingerpicked, part spoken ‘Gate of Enayim’), who, widowed and childless, dupes her father-in-law Judah into impregnating her so the line can continue; the unnamed daughter of Jephthah (the 60s folk-sounding ‘No Name’), who unfortunately wound up as a sacrifice thank to her dad’s rash promise; Dinah (‘Not Their Fault’), the daughter of Jacob, whose lover was killed by her brothers in the belief that she’d been raped; and back in playful mode and curiously reminding me of Melanie, ‘Because It’s Gonna Rain’ which, obviously, is about Noah’s wife, Emzara, who can’t believe the old man wants to build a big boat. It ends back in Genesis with ‘The Truth That Remained’, a circular fingerpicked guitar pattern framing the story of Sarah and her relief and praise for God when her husband Abraham returns home with Isaac, the son he had taken to be sacrificed. A fascinating outcrop of the #MeToo that turns a spotlight on the trials and tribulations of oppressed, exploited and often misinterpreted women in the Bible whose stories have only ever been footnotes to the patriarchal framework, and good tunes into the bargain”……Mike Davies, brumradio.com, Birmingham, UK

“This is a “concept-album” of twelve songs that rewrite the story of female biblical characters from the old testament. Musically, we are in the register of stripped folk: Jan Seides, a beautiful voice and an excellent diction. All the better, because the main interest of this disc resides in the texts.” (Alain Kempf) (The Netherlands)

“Jan Seides, first album of six years Unsung, fifth in the order. She has written text and music for a record where she sings and plays guitar. With her in the studio she has Lorrie Singer vocals and Bradly Kopp vocals and guitars.

Jan Seides hails from Austin, Texas. Jan’s older sister was given piano lessons and when Jan was four years old the teacher thought that she too would take lessons. Jan says that she took piano lessons for 14 years and studied piano and composition at the University of Texas School of Music where she graduated with a musical degree. There she had explored: folk music, classical, jazz, pop, rock and country.

Jan has had appearances … in the US as well as in Ireland, England and Wales but also Israel. Jan Seides has been fascinated by the women in the Bible, who have not been given much space, who also have something to tell.

I do not want to claim that I know the Bible on my five fingers because it was many years since the confirmation. However, Jan’s unsung stories are interesting and fascinating. In all, this mystique, this to a beautiful arrangement and Jan’s beautiful voice that reminds a little of Judy Collins and a little about Linda Thompson.

Songs to start with: And So I Followed, Rachel’s Sister, Your Neighbor’s Garden, Delilah’s Lament and No Name” …Musikbloggen67, Sweden