Longtime music producer, writer, and performer of the soundtrack of the NOOMA series Brie Stoner has just released a new EP titled Delicate Hour. After a decade of working on the Rob Bell series, she finally lets us into her own musical work with a glimpse of things to come. The experienced songwriter, who has previously worked with the likes of the late Jay Bennett of Wilco, shares her soul in beautifully crafted songs that show her maturity and depth, with solid Neil Young-ish Americana/folk/rock melodies and sweet, sleepy vocals reminiscent of Mazzy Star.
The EP, featuring performances from friends David Vandervelde (Secretly Canadian) and Evan Slamka (Marjorie Fair, Square on Square), was recorded in studios in L.A., Nashville, and even the artist's own home in Grand Rapids, Mich. Gathering friends across the country to collaborate on the record, Stoner is proudly boasting "indie" artist cred with made-in-the-Midwest gumption.
The five songs delve into everything from the precarious nature of love in relationships ("Delicate Hour") to the singer's weathered spiritual journey ("To Wrestle"). "Part Time Believer" boasts a spaghetti Western vibe to balance the heady questions she asks about the extreme dualistic natures of safe vs. wild, good vs. evil, and heaven vs. hell.
In "Edge of a Broken Heart," Stoner manages to turn Richard Marx and Fee Waybill's 1980's hair band rock anthem into a slow, dreamy song that flows seamlessly into her own (see video below). Stoner shows her bilingual/bi-cultural past with "Together Forever," a sweet live performance sung part in English, part in Spanish.
With promises from her camp of new music ahead in the fall and the holidays, Stoner seems to enter into the singer/songwriter scene with more than a tent and a backpack. She packs brick and mortar---a depth, authenticity, and talent that is sure to have staying power in an industry inundated with pop culture five-minute phenoms.
Stoner's EP can be sampled and purchased on iTunes. I have had the privilege of knowing Stoner for a few years, and it's been a treat for me to hear about the EP as a concept and then see the final product. Music has such a powerful meaning of connection, touching us in unique ways. Stoner succeeds in producing a series of tracks that connects well to the human story with a beautiful voice and wonderful melodies to match.