We’re delighted to preview Julian Fleisher’s new album, Finally, releasing May 13 on Modern Records.
Fleisher will be celebrating with an album release show at Joe's Pub on May 14, 2014.
This sweet collection of whimsical songs has a theatrical bent, perhaps if only because the story-telling is so well-crafted.
With a velvety voice reminiscent of Mel Torme and an ability to deliver like Sammy Davis, Jr, Fleisher’s performance abilities play as much of a star role as his songwriting.
But don’t mistake me, the songwriting is extremely strong. From the imaginative, cleverly fun lyrics of the title track, “Finally” to my tongue-twisting favorite, “What You Need,” to the endearing and lovely, "Nothing Worth Loving," the collection also includes some wonderful acoustic guitar and full-band accompaniments.
Fleisher also includes covers that showcase his passionate but intimate performance skills.
The 10-track album was written and produced by Fleisher and follows his critically acclaimed Rather Big album. Finally is a bit more understated, but still includes the Julian flair and voice that fans and critics love.
Hear the complete album stream exclusively here:
The album was recorded in New York and features Julian's longtime collaborators Tedd Firth, Nick Mancini, Pete Smith, Matt Clohesy, Chris Michael and Tom Murray. Finally takes listeners on a more intimate, personal journey on which the writing is the focus.
Shedding his usually brainy covers and full-tilt horn arrangements that so characterized Rather Big, this new album puts the focus on Julian as a writer, a craft he's been developing more and more over the last few years. That's not to say he doesn't give a nod to his well-known material on Finally. Just check out his incredibly fun cover of the classic "Tomorrow" from Annie, which closes out the album.
When asked how he felt about moving away from his well-known sound, Fleisher says, "No question, it feels like a rise to me." He goes on, "Naturally, I wonder what folks will make of a recording that's more intimate and less showy than my old stuff. But, the truth is, people have always responded intensely to my own tunes and many of them were written without my Rather Big Band in mind.”
He continues, “I've kept my rhythm section, of course. I mean, you would too if yours could play like mine does. But I asked them to tone down their insane virtuosity and to turn their talents to simpler gestures and more direct statements. The results, I think, are amazing. As is often the case, when you put restrictions on talent like that, you discover a world of new ideas that are as compelling as they are surprising."
Fleisher came to New York from his native Baltimore via New Haven. The son of world-renowned concert pianist Leon Fleisher, Julian was first heard as a boy soprano, a student of the classical repertoire at his hometown's prestigious Peabody Conservatory of Music. After his four-year stint at Yale—where he sang in concerts, with á cappella singing group Redhot & Blue and on stage in roles ranging from The Threepenny Opera's Mack the Knife to Guys and Doll's Sky Masterson—Julian took on New York.
There, his love of singing unencumbered by the demands of playing a role led him out of the theater and into the nightclub, where his wide embrace of all corners of the pop songbook, his barn-burning Rather Big Band and a fresh and irreverent performance style garnered him rave reviews and comparisons to predecessors as diverse as Sammy Davis, Jr., Mel Torme and Lenny Bruce.
His regular gigs at such stalwart New York venues as Joe's Pub, BAM, Symphony Space, The 92nd St Y and The World Trade Center's Winter Garden led him to start writing his own songs and to collaborating with a host of partners both on and off the stage.
Between his concerts, the recording studio, the theater and his popular podcast Julian Fleisher's Guilty Pleasures, Julian has recently sung, written, gigged, produced or appeared with, among others, Kiki & Herb, Molly Ringwald, Martha Plimpton, Issac Mizrahi, Jennifer Holiday, Lauren Graham, Ana Gasteyer, Nellie McKay, Rufus Wainwright, Mo Rocca, Bridget Everett, Paul Schaefer, Keith Carradine, Joshua Malina, David Rakoff and even, Sally Field.
Find out more at julianfleisher.com
Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of Guitar World's Acoustic Nation. A singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area, she's also a veteran music industry marketer, and has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Dean Markley, Peavey Electronics, SIR Entertainment Services, Music First, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com, producer of the She Rocks Awards and the Women's Music Summit and co-hosts regular songwriter nights for the West Coast Songwriters Association. More at mad-sun.com.