Erin & Her Cello
Making Us Laugh All by Her Lonesome
It's not concertos you'll be hearing at The Telephone Bar in the heart of the New York City's East Village, but a young songwriter who will make you laugh and break your heart with songs that tell the story of her life.
Erin is Erin Hall, a singer-songwriter whose songs touch us personally because they are personal. But it's not Erin we're laughing at when she sings of falling in "lust" in a New York minute in "Subway Crush," but ourselves. And it's not Erin's pain we're thinking of when she sings of falling in love and not being loved back in "This Isn't Funny," but our own. We may not want to admit what lurks in our hearts, but Erin knows.
Erin's sound is one of dynamic contrasts. Her songs may be ironic at times, but her voice is not. It's true and soulful and lush, like an old fashioned torch song singer. Of course that's no accident. Trained classically on the cello, she also completed a graduate degree in musical theatre. And she listens widely. In her music, you can hear such classical and modern influences as Etta James, the Beatles, Bach, and Leslie Feist, the exciting new Canadian singer-songwriter. And word is that Erin does a mean Ethel Merman impersonation.
Her repertoire begins with comedic songs, but ranges ever more widely she explores other parts her art and life. "Tiny Buns," for example tells the story of a girl's obsession with "those tiny pork buns of fun." Is it food or sex she's singing about? We'll never know, but we always laugh. "On My Stoop" is a sweet and simple love song that will make you feel young again, even if you already are. At the opposite end of the spectrum, "Bitten Me Bad" moves like lightening, reveals the influence of Etta James, and shows off the singer's skill and training as a performer.
And "Don't Hurt the Babies," Erin's first (and hopefully not last) heavy metal number, brings us back to New Year's Eve 1977. Amidst fuzz-boxed cello and some brassy-voiced singing, it tells the story of a 16 year-old baby sitter who aspired to be a preacher, an unlocked liquor cabinet, and four little girls in a weak girl's charge. You're having a great time rocking out to this quirky ballad until you do the math (2005 Ð 1977) and realize that the baby dropped by the inebriated teenager was Erin!
Instrumentally, Erin's music goes far beyond the simple two-guitar arrangements of the typical singer-songwriter. In addition to her cello, her accompanists include vibraphonist Nick Mancini, a rising light on the New York City jazz scene, Chris Michael on percussion, Kevin Kelly on the accordion (the old-fashioned kind that uses buttons instead of keys), Aya Kato on keyboards, and Adam Matta doing the vocal beat-boxer, a kind of one-man percussion section that can mimic just about every kind of drum, cymbal, bell or maraca known to man. You never know who's going to show up in Erin's little living room of a stage to accompany her on her evening's tete-a-tete with the audience.
You can catch Erin & Her Cello and their friends at the Telephone Bar on 149 Second Avenue (between 9th and 10th Streets) every last Monday of the month.
Like a lot of other Indie (for independent) singer-songwriters, Erin appears at many other venues in and around New York City. To find out where, you can, of course, check out her Websites:
You can also download of some of her songs, but be warned: those MP3 recordings do no justice to her voice. As with most Indie musicians, until she hits it big with her first recording contract, you just gotta be there to hear her for yourself.