Gentle Ravings Under a Martian Sky
Press Release- Kathy Compton - Gentle Ravings Under A Martian Sky (Frosty Orange Records) In a world that can be fraught with tension and anxiety, good music can serve as a beacon of light. At the dawn of 2004, Kathy Compton's GENTLE RAVINGS UNDER A MARTIAN SKY enters as a most potent weapon within the arsenal of good vibrations. Her warm voice is as soothing as a breeze on a summer night, and the eleven songs on her album will leave music fans feeling happy and wanting to know more about this impressive songstress. GENTLE RAVINGS UNDER A MARTIAN SKY, Compton's second album, is a triumph of vision, craftsmanship, and performance. The album is filled with eclectic songs that feature a variety of textures, and a certain sultry quality that cannot be manufactured. Influenced by a wide range of classic and contemporary greats-- Bono,Badly Drawn Boy, Peggy Lee --Compton conjures up an exotic brew of classy, genre-spanning tunes that offer more substance, more pure emotion, than one can find just anywhere. Compton says, 'The artists I love listening to the most elevate my soul,' and she infuses her own music with that passion. Listening to her songs bears this out. 'Wilderness Of Sin,' for instance, begins with the soft, fluttering sound of a muted trumpet (played by John D'earth), while Compton languidly strums chords from her guitar, delicately singing 'Spawned from shame, we learn to hide our desire/ But all it does is inflame and inspire.' The number gradually fills in with drums, electric guitar, and finally a group of middle and high school students to lend an almost 'we are the world, we are the children' aura. Another gem of a song, 'Sunrise,' (written by Ezra Hamilton, who adds guitar and backing vocals), is a confident, beautifully arranged, achingly sung ballad. The smoky feel of the song invokes images of an intimate jazz club, with lightly tapping drums playing off the trickling of piano keys, the slight steel guitar work simmering on top of loping bass lines, and Compton's lulling voice caressing the vocals as she sings 'There is no you and I anymore'. Words so painful to hear have never sounded so lovely. Demonstrating a knack for crossing over genres, Compton's rock influences also materialize. The bursting trumpets of 'Optisong' kick off the album, quickly establishing Compton's flair for writing a dynamic, upbeat melody. The mid-tempo rocker offers a clean, breezy sound, with electric piano and acoustic guitar being guided by a pumping bass line, and shots of loud guitar muscling in as the song progresses. If ever there was a song to be played loud and fast on the open highway, this is it. The funk elements of the enjoyable 'Grass Beneath my Feet,' a mid-tempo dance tune that features different electronic samples, definitely invites favorable comparisons to Stereolab, Beth Orton and Dido. With it's dance pop grooves, tt's easy to imagine that this track will be getting steady radio attention as Compton's music becomes more widespread. Compton's playful side crops up on her cover of the theme song to the 70s T.V.. show, 'Love Boat.' That song is one '...I've been known to break out into when feeling special and reckless,' says Compton. She and able producer Rod Coles revamped the classic into a bouncy, quasi-disco number, that is simply contagious. Kathy Compton sings songs of elegant beauty and genre-defying eclecticism, and GENTLE RAVINGS UNDER A MARTIAN SKY is her gift to the music world. All she asks in return is that the we sit back, take it all in, and enjoy. Bio Being exposed to AM radio can have a profound and lasting impact on a girl. Just ask Kathy Compton. Growing up in Charlottesville, VA, she delighted to the sounds coming from the radio: Hall & Oates would follow the Supremes, Marvin Gaye's music would preceed the J Geils Band. Likewise, the soundtracks to Disney classics helped shape Kathy's musical palette; Kathy says, 'I loved the songs in Pinocchio and Mary Poppins--they were mournful, otherworldly and magical all at once.' Indeed, many wonderful sounds from a myriad of sources floated around in the air, filling up young Kathy's head with beautiful sounds and big dreams. By the time she was a teenager, the soulful sounds of jazz masters like Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Van Morrison found their way into Kathy's collection, as well the likes of the Cure, The Police, U2, the Go-Gos. With all this terrific music floating around her, Kathy fell firmly into the grip of musical fever. 'When I was 17, I was simultaneously obsessed with the quirkiness of the Cure, and the sadness of Billie Holiday,' says Kathy. 'I began singing in our high school jazz combo and got hooked on making music, not just listening to it.' With that, she began studying with renowned jazz trumpeter John D'earth (Buddy Rich, Bruce Hornsby, Lionel Hampton). This was followed, in short order, by Kathy's picking up the guitar, and taking the leap of faith by writing her own material. As it turned out, she had a gift for composing.Then, as now, Kathy's approach to songwriting was an impressionistic one. 'I'm interested in evoking a unique feeling through music,' she says, adding 'one of the powers of music is the fact that words can convey so much more set to music than by themselves; every note has it's own color and can cut right past our logical thought processes.' On the cusp of early adulthood, Kathy played the rounds of open mic nights, the building of musical confidence, and the meeting of a manager with a known eye for talent (Ross Hoffman, who was instrumental in bringing us Dave Matthews and Hanson). Under Hoffman's guidance, Kathy moved to NYC to gain her ground as a performer. For three years, Kathy immersed herself in the rich Manhattan music scene, developing her craft and showmanship. By the time she moved back to Virginia, she was a seasoned professional. Her debut album, 2001's 'Recovering Humans,' reflected her love of pop. With the dawn of 2004, Kathy Compton is releasing her follow-up, a less polished and more sophisticated album, Gentle Ravings Under a Martian Sky. 'It was recorded in our studio in the Virginia countryside, just outside of Charlottesville,' she says. 'The producer, Rod Coles, is a longtime friend and musical cohort. His diligence and dedication to this project will long be cherished. We began in August and worked straight through October. I think the songs are a culmination of all that time I spent listening to the Cure and Holiday. It was a challenge to write all the songs in that short span of time, and a joy to record. With a smile heard but not quite seen she states, 'I can't wait to make the next record'. The music on Gentle Ravings represents new techniques, as well as new plateaus, for Kathy. She says: 'In contrast to the first record, I wrote most of the songs while we were recording. I think that added a real cohesion to the record as a whole. Half of the songs were written on piano, an instrument I've been dabbling with for the past year.' Thematically, she explains that '...my songs don't vary too much from what most art expresses--temptation, lust, seduction, love, loss, death (and the possibilities of what comes after), and of course, talking to the animals. This year, Kathy will be all over the place promoting Gentle Ravings Under a Martian Sky. 'I'm scouting for a touring band that I plan on taking to Europe, Australia and Canada,' she says. 'We are already getting radio play in the aforementioned locales, and I expect to be getting more airplay as word of mouth spreads.' Two records into the ballgame, Kathy says, 'I want to highlight the brightness of this world. I want to be a purveyor of good vibrations. I want the listeners of my music to feel the way I did when I was a kid and heard those Disney songs: wide eyed, wonderous, and ready to get carried up and away. The truth is, we do live in a magical world; it is simply a matter of having your dial tuned to it.'