|Haley Heynderickx||I Need To Start A Garden|
Haley Heynderickx — I Need To Start A Garden (March 2, 2018) • It takes a mix of skill and luck to tend a garden well, but it’s impossible without a certain amount of amount of kindness tended. While the cyclical nature of gardening seems inherent, in some ways, Heynderickx is just beginning.
• For the empathetic singer~songwriter, the reasons for seeking such acceptance and understanding stem from a life of paradoxes. Heynderickx grew up in a religious household in Oregon, closely identifying with her Filipino roots, but also straddling multiple cultural identities. Now residing in Portland, her faith is not overt, but her introspection and continued struggle for selfactualization are easily accessible and relatable.
• Likewise, the tracks on I Need to Start a Garden reflect these seemingly disparate elements. Through soft acoustic guitar picking and deftly accented trombone sighs, Heynderickx’s music immediately recalls folk music of the ‘60s and ‘70s mixed with a love of jazz radio. But Heynderickx’s singing — her vocals that range from sultry to operatic — belie a tenacity in her soul.
• It’s a balance, then, between exposing and protecting herself on I Need to Start a Garden. Heynderickx vacillates between between powerlessness (opener “No Face”) and empowerment (lead single “Oom Sha La La”). But her generosity of spirit remains the constant throughout the whole album.
• You can hear that exceptional care in “Jo”, as she whispers, “You tended your garden like heaven and hell / and you built the birds houses to see if it helped at all.” Aware of the birds, the garden, and anyone listening acutely, Heynderickx’s music serves as an invitation for all to join her. Because the beauty of a garden is that while it’s often started for deeply personal reasons, its bounty is best consumed and shared with others.
• I Need to Start a Garden was produced, engineered and mixed by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland, Oregon. Haley Heynderickx co~produced the album. It was mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering in Portland. The record features Lily Breshears (Bass, Keys, Backing Vocals), Denzel Mendoza (Trombone, Backing Vocals), Phillip Rogers (Drums, Percussion, Backing Vocals) and Tim Sweeney (Upright Bass). Location: Portland, Oregon
Genre: Singer~Songwriter, Folk
Album release: March 2, 2018
Record Label: Mama Bird Recording Co.
1. No Face 1:57
2. The Bug Collector 3:48
3. Jo 3:52
4. Worth It 7:53
5. Show You a Body 3:29
6. Untitled God Song 3:44
7. Oom Sha La La 2:57
8. Drinking Song 3:16
© & ℗ 2018 Mama Bird Recording Co.
★ Haley Heynderickx — Vocals, Acoustic & Electric Guitar
★ Lily Breshears — Electric Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
★ Tim Sweeney — Upright Bass, Electric Bass
★ Phillip Rogers — Drums & Percussion, Backing Vocals
★ Denzel Mendoza — Trombone, Backing Vocals
• All songs written by Haley Heynderickx
• Produced by Zak Kimball
• Co~produced by Haley Heynderickx
• Engineered & Mixed by Zak Kimball at Nomah Studios in Portland, Oregon
• Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk at Stereophonic Mastering in Portland, Oregon
• Vinyl cut by Adam Gonsalves at Telegraph Mastering in Portland, Oregon
• Cover Photo by Alessandra Leimer
• Design by Vincent Bancheri Review
Michael Bonner February 27, 2018
♦♠ Striking debut from Portland singer~songwriter.
♠♦ On “Untitled God Song”, Haley Heynderickx imagines a meeting with her ineffable creator. “Her Coach bags are knockoff, her shoes are all dressed up,” she sings, depicting a conspicuously human divine being who, nonetheless, still “spins me around like a marionette”. Meanwhile, Heynderickx’s rich vibrato plays out against swooping, open tunings and an echoing trombone. She is thoughtful and funny, envisaging her god in a variety of feminine guises; but it transpires that the song’s lyrical approach is also representative of Heynderickx’s slender but hugely promising body of work so far. At the heart of her songs is an open~ended curiosity about the human condition – how it works and how, often, it doesn’t.
♠♦ “Untitled God Song” has its origins in Heynderickx’s own religious upbringing in Forest Grove – a modest suburb of Portland, Oregon. There, when she was 11 years old, Heynderickx had a dream in which she was transformed into a female Jimi Hendrix, complete with bellbottoms and a flaming guitar. Alas, opportunities for an aspiring, pre~teenage guitar virtuoso were limited in Forest Grove. Heynderickx took lessons with the only guitar tutor available: a bluegrass instructor, who taught her about rhythm patterns, discipline and process. Between them, God, Hendrix and bluegrass contribute to a potent creation myth that Heynderickx largely lives up to.
♠♦ Her first release, 2016’s self~possessed “Fish Eyes” EP, captured Heynderickx’s raw, playful charm. Though with lines like “Am I down in the river bed this time picking fish heads and eating out their eyes?”, the title track grappled with something more primal; a darker, allegorical quality she returns to frequently.
♠♦ I Need To Start A Garden amplifies Heynderickx’s best qualities. Collectively, the songs appear rooted in the natural world. There are birdhouses, fig trees and honeycomb; coastlines, sunsets, a hornet’s nest. In one song, “the sky is all indigo”, while another finds the narrator competing with insects in the bath. Full of symbols and codes, they evoke the lyrical nature writing of Nick Drake or Vashti Bunyan, but delivered like a less refined Sharon Van Etten. Heynderickx is accompanied by fellow Portland musicians Phillip Rogers on drums, Tim Sweeney on upright bass, Lily Breshears on keys and Denzel Mendoza on trombone, but these elements are essentially discrete shading for Heynderickx’s voice and atmospheric electric guitar playing, reminsicent of Jeff Buckley.
♠♦ Heynderickx draws inspiration from disparate sources including Miyazaki films (“No Face”) and archetypal Western standards of feminine beauty (“Untitled God Song”). They are often autobiographical, but not overtly so — “Drinking Song” is based on Heynderickx’s experiences as a student in Prague, while “Jo” mourns the death of a close friend. “Worth It” is a note to self — a pep song Heynderickx wrote after a period of self~doubt. “Maybe I’ve maybe I’ve been worthless, or maybe I’ve maybe I’ve been worth it,” she howls while the guitars and drums surge in raging sympathy.
♠♦ At times, this can sound a little precious. The first half minute or so of “No Face”, the album’s opener, with its hummed intro and plucked acoustic lines, sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place on the opening credits of a Sundance contender — maybe an indie movie about young people coming to grips with an uneasy world. But these moments are, fortunately, few and far between.
♠♦ At the other end of the spectrum, “Om Sha La La” has the rolling gait of the Loaded~era Velvet Underground. But mostly the album’s best songs are simple, contemplative and poignant. At last, you suspect she might have finally found some kind of resolution to her existential doubts. “Everyone is singing along,” she says on “Drinking Song”. “The good and the bad and the gone”. ♠♦ http://www.uncut.co.uk/
Jerad Walker, February 22, 20185:00 AM ET
★♦♠♦★ Two years ago, Haley Heynderickx released her debut EP, Fish Eyes, a promising four~song collection of electric folk music that was so beautiful and unguarded that it, at times, was uncomfortable to listen to. Like a tourist who’s stumbled upon a wedding ceremony on a public beach, the bare songs almost prompted me to ask, “Am I supposed to be here?” Bolstered by the buzz generated from that recording, the Portland, Ore., singer~songwriter (and Slingshot artist) soon began working on her full~length debut, I Need To Start A Garden, but she initially struggled to replicate the dynamic of her live performances. Recording sessions started up, were scrapped, and started up again. Then, things stalled out completely.
★♦♠♦★ “I just wanted the whole thing to feel live,” Heynderickx told opbmusic. “I wanted it to feel intimate. It feels like a conversation to me, getting to play a show. And now making a show for an invisible person, I have no idea how people can intake and receive music without the external stimuli [of a live performance]. It felt like a different craft, so it took me a long time.”
★♦♠♦★ Eventually, she settled on the simplest solution. Her vocal and guitar parts were recorded live, with different instruments and backing vocals added later by her bandmates and co~producer Zak Kimball.
★♦♠♦★ It worked. From the opening note of I Need To Start A Garden (out March 2 on Mama Bird Recording Co.), the new album captivates. Heynderickx, who considers guitarists John Fahey and Leo Kottke major influences, plucks a classical guitar that’s been detuned in such a convoluted manner that it almost sounds like a harp. While half~heartedly humming the melody of “No Face,” she repeatedly drops her thumb onto the lowest string of the instrument, adding subtle depth. “I’m just a sucker for little details — and a loner at times — so I have to become my own bass player,” Heynderickx says of her rhythmic playing style.
★♦♠♦★ Necessity may be the mother of invention here, but it’s effective, especially when paired with her vocals. Like much of the record, the song’s lyrics are introspective, delicate, and, at times, undecipherable, but Heynderickx’s sweeping voice gives “No Face” a sense of increasing unease as she moves from a sense of exhaustion to intensely affected vibrato, all matched with ghost~like harmonies.
★♦♠♦★ Although Heynderickx is most comfortable playing an acoustic guitar, I Need To Start A Garden also demonstrates remarkable range; the sprawling, eight~minute long “Worth It,” a completely electric song tinged with a punk ethos. But between those sonic spaces is where Heynderickx shines the brightest. The electric folk ballad “Untitled God Song” challenges the notion of a gray~bearded Almighty with lines like “Maybe my God has a trot in her walk / And her Coach bags are knockoff / Her shoes are all dressed up.” And then there’s the centerpiece of the record, the doo~wop inspired “Oom Sha La La,” an irreverent single filled with quirky non~sequiturs and the line that would eventually become the title of I Need To Start A Garden.
★♦♠♦★ “The album feels like a tattoo to me,” says Heynderickx about the lyric, “so I tried to find the right slogan that would make me laugh by the time I’m 60, 70 , 80 — if I’m lucky.” ★♦♠♦★ https://www.npr.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hhhendrixx © Photo credit: Hanna Pribitzer
|Haley Heynderickx||I Need To Start A Garden|