Paula Frazer will release her New High Recordings debut and first album in four years, ‘What Is And Was’ on March 5th, 2013.
Paula Frazer is an American ‘classic’ singer-songwriter. She grew up in Georgia and Arkansas playing piano and guitar, and singing in the church choir where her father was the minister. Her music is frequently described as melancholic alternative country, but with an eclectic mix of folk, blues and pop, among other genres.
She moved to San Francisco in the 80’s and first came to notice by fronting her band Tarnation in the 1990’s (4AD/Warner-Reprise). Since then she has appeared on recordings and on stage with many acts including Cornershop, Sean Lennon, Frightwig, Tindersticks, The Czars, Nick Cave and Handsome Boy Modeling School, to name just a few.
It was in San Francisco she began playing with the bands Trial and Frightwig. But it was not until Tarnation in the early 90’s that Paula found the format that would bring her voice and songs to world outside San Francisco. With her first recording in this context, ‘I’ll Give You Something To Cry About’ — subsequently re-released by 4AD as ‘Gentle Creatures’ with some songs re-recorded and other songs added — Paula’s Tarnation became a cornerstone block in the nascent edifice of Americana music (it was touted by Rolling Stone one of the 25 best Americana records ever). ‘Mirador,’ the follow-up, found Paula enriching her oeuvre with Ennio Morricone’s darkness and Scott Walker’s plushness. ‘Mirador’ was her first endeavor with co-producer David Katznelson of Birdman Recordings.
Her first release under her own name was ‘Indoor Universe’ in 2001 (Birdman) which garnered overwhelming critical acclaim. With ‘Indoor Universe’ Frazer’s popularity expanded and solidified in Europe, especially in France where she’s already established a cult following through touring with Nick Cave and The Tindersticks. ‘Indoor Universe’ saw Paula’s songwriting maturing while she tinkered with the blend of musical influences she drew from to further perfect her unique musical identity. Spin Magazine said: “Frazer’s voice has the grande-dame grandeur of Oum Kalthoum, the Southern-belle chime of Patsy Cline, and the rococo phrasing of Joan Baez.” This was followed by ‘A Place Where I Know’ (Birdman), a compilation of the best of ten years of home demos released while she was busy writing ‘Leave The Sad Things Behind ’ (Birdman). Her fans had been clamoring for just this sort of raw and intimate look at Paula’s creative process, which has always begun at home on her trusty four-track recorder.
In between her many prolific releases she has appeared on a slew of compilations and soundtrack albums worldwide. Keep a look out for Paula’s forthcoming 2012 release ‘What Is And Was’ due out later this year.