Singer-songwriter Pamela Machala’s new album may be titled “Something Simple,” but the 12-song collection due out Oct. 30 is anything but.
Built on her recognizable ability to deliver songs that come across as incredibly catchy, yet deep and heartfelt, the soon-to-be-released record is a profoundly honest gathering of Motown-inspired grooves, infectious funk and smooth folk sentiment.
In the tradition of Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters, Machala artfully turns a phrase and yet still manages to make us dance. Her poetic and insightful words are cradled between jazzy R&B piano runs, tambourine taps and the crisp reverberations of the vibraphone.
On “Cardboard Cutout,” a track built on nostalgia and longing, Machala’s vocals shine. The tune is almost reminiscent of musical theater, but in the very best way. It’s easy to picture a relatable character belting out every word under the warmth of stage lights.
“Leave You Alone,” beautifully captures what it’s like to let a relationship end, yet still wish an ex well. On the heart-tugging, stripped-down track, Machala sings, “I hope that all your cats are healthy. I hope they’ve still got eight lives left to spare. I hope you had a great vacation, nothing but window seats and salty ocean air.”
It’s the sort of soundtrack you could blast while sipping wine and chopping vegetables and midway through julienning butternut squash, hop on your kitchen counter to ponder the meaning of life.
“Bleeding Me Dry,” a song in which Machala expresses her own self-doubt and frustration with the music industry, received the grand prize in the 2019 SongDoor International Songwriting Competition.
Machala’s piano-rich gems are in the storyteller vein of Ben Folds and Sara Bareilles, yet they are distinctly hers.
Region talent also surfaces on her fresh release, including Kate Farmer adding vocals resulting in flawless harmonies and Kevin McHugh, of The Grant Farm, stepping in with percussion on drums, shaker and tambourine.
“Something Simple” is available for pre-order on Bandcamp.
We chatted with the songstress about what fans can expect from her latest release, including a witty musical homage to cannabis aptly titled “My Little Green Friend,” how the pandemic has actually prompted her productivity and what popular Netflix series she plans to start bingeing this Halloween.
Daily Camera: Really loving the new album. Would you say this is maybe your most vulnerable release?
Pamela Machala: Thank you so much, and yes, this is definitely my most vulnerable and personal release to date. There are songs on this album about breakups, rejection, struggling in my music career and even an ode to weed. A few years ago, I don’t think I would’ve publicly admitted that I smoke weed. I’m a pretty private person and for the most part I don’t like people knowing my business. But, the more honest you are as a songwriter, the better your songs are and the more your songs can become meaningful to someone else. We all have struggles and messy bits. So, I’m trying to really speak the truth in these songs, even when it’s a little uncomfortable for me.
DC: Has 2020 been a productive year for you musically? How have you spent your days?
PM: 2020 has certainly been a challenging time to be a full-time musician, but it has actually been a really productive songwriting year for me, which feels great. As an indie artist, I wear many hats — booking, performing, recording, social media strategizing, but writing songs has always been my favorite part of the whole shebang. And, I’m grateful to have more time for that in my day-to-day this year.
DC: Do you plan on having a socially distant album release show? Where can we catch you live next?
PM: With COVID cases on the rise again, I’ve been pretty cautious and don’t have any live shows on the books for the fall. I will however be doing an online livestream listening party on my Facebook page at 5 p.m. Mountain Time on the album release date.
DC: Are there any tracks on the album that you would say are some of your favorites?
PM: Oof, it’s so hard to choose between your song babies. But, if I had to pick three favorites, I’d say “Bleeding Me Dry,” “Cardboard Cutout” and “Ain’t It Grand.” I just love how they turned out in the studio. Much of that is thanks to my amazing producer, Julian Peterson. And all the other incredible musicians who played on this record.
DC: Lastly, I know that you are a fan of Halloween and have dressed up as Amy Winehouse in a previous year. How do you plan on celebrating this year?
PM: I’m going to stay in and have a quiet Halloween this year. My husband and I are planning to finally start “Stranger Things.”
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