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Linda Perhacs|I'm A Harmony

I'm A Harmony

Linda Perhacs

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Linda Perhacs' story sounds like the plot for a Hollywood movie: Dental hygienist who writes songs in her spare time is discovered by a music biz bigwig while she cleans his teeth. She makes a brilliant album that sells zilch, and drops out of the music industry. Decades later, record collectors and freak folkies rediscover the album, and it's reissued without the songwriter's knowledge. Eventually the visionary hygienist is found, and learns she has an audience. If this were a movie, the scenario would likely end with the vocalist playing for a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall after her new album became a hit, though that hasn't happened in real life yet. Still, the fact that Perhacs has returned to duty and is creating compelling new music 47 years after her cult classic Parallelograms came and went is more than remarkable in itself. At the age of 74, Perhacs has released her third album, 2017's I'm a Harmony, and the passing of nearly half a century has made a difference, though not as much as you might think. Perhacs' voice is more fragile and whispery than it was in 1970, and she doesn't hit the notes as reliably as she once did. That said, her instrument is surprisingly functional given how long she avoided singing in public, and the many collaborators who help her on I'm a Harmony are both generous and knowing in their musical and vocal support. (Significantly, the cover reads "The Voice and Vision of Linda Perhacs" before listing the artists who pitched in to help make the album a reality.) As a songwriter, Perhacs' muse has barely aged a day, and the playful but heartfelt hippie-style visions and soaring melodies that dominated Parallelograms are still here in abundance; if the craft here feels more 21st century, the heart and soul are very much the same, and Perhacs has remained loyal to the musical vision she first documented in 1970. And Perhacs' partners on I'm a Harmony serve her very well; the album was produced by Pat Sansone (of Wilco and the Autumn Defense) and Fernando Perdomo in collaboration with Perhacs, with appearances from Julia Holter, Devendra Banhart, Nels Cline, and Mark Pritchard, and the results are graceful and powerfully atmospheric, individual while flattering the style of the headliner. I'm a Harmony isn't the revelation that Parallelograms was, but it's not a letdown, either; this is the work of an artist whose singular creative viewpoint hasn't dimmed with time. She still has a great deal to say, and those who loved her debut will discover she hasn't lost her touch.

© Mark Deming /TiVo

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I'm A Harmony

Linda Perhacs

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1
Winds Of The Sky
00:05:49

Linda Perhacs, MainArtist - Linda Perhacs/Fernando Perdomo/Chris Price, Composer

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

2
We Will Live
00:05:16

Linda Perhacs, MainArtist - Linda Perhacs/Fernando Perdomo/Chris Price, Composer

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

3
I?m A Harmony
00:08:06

Fernando Perdomo, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

4
The Dancer
00:03:59

Chris Price, Writer - Julia Holter, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

5
Crazy Love
00:04:10

Pat Sansone, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

6
Take Your Love To A Higher Level
00:03:08

Fernando Perdomo, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

7
Eclipse Of All Love
00:02:50

Linda Perhacs, MainArtist - Linda Perhacs/Fernando Perdomo/Chris Price, Composer

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

8
One Full Circle Around The Sun
00:02:53

Fernando Perdomo, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

9
Beautiful Play
00:04:12

Julia Holter, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

10
Visions
00:07:11

Julia Holter, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

11
You Wash My Soul In Sound
00:05:24

Julia Holter, Writer - Linda Perhacs, Writer, MainArtist

© 2017 Omnivore Recordings, a division of Omnivore Entertainment Group, LLC. ℗ 2017 Linda Perhacs, under exculsive license to Omnivore Recordings

Album review

Linda Perhacs' story sounds like the plot for a Hollywood movie: Dental hygienist who writes songs in her spare time is discovered by a music biz bigwig while she cleans his teeth. She makes a brilliant album that sells zilch, and drops out of the music industry. Decades later, record collectors and freak folkies rediscover the album, and it's reissued without the songwriter's knowledge. Eventually the visionary hygienist is found, and learns she has an audience. If this were a movie, the scenario would likely end with the vocalist playing for a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall after her new album became a hit, though that hasn't happened in real life yet. Still, the fact that Perhacs has returned to duty and is creating compelling new music 47 years after her cult classic Parallelograms came and went is more than remarkable in itself. At the age of 74, Perhacs has released her third album, 2017's I'm a Harmony, and the passing of nearly half a century has made a difference, though not as much as you might think. Perhacs' voice is more fragile and whispery than it was in 1970, and she doesn't hit the notes as reliably as she once did. That said, her instrument is surprisingly functional given how long she avoided singing in public, and the many collaborators who help her on I'm a Harmony are both generous and knowing in their musical and vocal support. (Significantly, the cover reads "The Voice and Vision of Linda Perhacs" before listing the artists who pitched in to help make the album a reality.) As a songwriter, Perhacs' muse has barely aged a day, and the playful but heartfelt hippie-style visions and soaring melodies that dominated Parallelograms are still here in abundance; if the craft here feels more 21st century, the heart and soul are very much the same, and Perhacs has remained loyal to the musical vision she first documented in 1970. And Perhacs' partners on I'm a Harmony serve her very well; the album was produced by Pat Sansone (of Wilco and the Autumn Defense) and Fernando Perdomo in collaboration with Perhacs, with appearances from Julia Holter, Devendra Banhart, Nels Cline, and Mark Pritchard, and the results are graceful and powerfully atmospheric, individual while flattering the style of the headliner. I'm a Harmony isn't the revelation that Parallelograms was, but it's not a letdown, either; this is the work of an artist whose singular creative viewpoint hasn't dimmed with time. She still has a great deal to say, and those who loved her debut will discover she hasn't lost her touch.

© Mark Deming /TiVo

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