Practice Room Album Review by Russ Elliot Practice Room (Flo Paris Music (USA) 7 83707 37050 7, 2006) is an almost 40-minute collection of nine acoustic guitar-backed gentle rock tracks with a religious underpinning, however, the lyrical...
Coming Around Album Review by Musical Discoveries (26 July 2009) We first heard Flo Paris as one of the singers in the progressive band Glass Hammer. Her solos and backing vocal parts across the band's numerous albums, DVDs and live performances...
Practice Room Album Review by Russ Elliot
Practice Room (Flo Paris Music (USA) 7 83707 37050 7, 2006) is an almost 40-minute collection of nine acoustic guitar-backed gentle rock tracks with a religious underpinning, however, the lyrical messages are never "in your face." Recorded at Sound Resources in Chattanooga, TN, the album is produced superbly in every respect.
While the album has been classified as a rock album, it never drifts far from singer/songwriter territory. Flo Paris has a distinctive mid-range voice with a wonderful natural clarity and lovely tone that the Sound Resources clan have perfectly captured in the recordings.
Flo (vocals, backing vocals, piano, ) is joined Steve Babb and Fred Schendel (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, accordon, piano, pump organ, Mellotron, drums) on the album. The album also includes session performances by Brandon Paris (acoustic guitar), Summer Hullender (mandolin), Tiffin Barile (mandolin), Jay Stanfill (upright bass),
The album opens with "Not I," Flo's lead vocals accompanied acoustic guitar and mandolins. The upbeat track "Restless Night" is certainly one of the album's standouts. Fast-paced with acoustic percussion and acoustic guitar backing by Brandon, Flo's vocals glide above the arrangements. Listeners will especially enjoy the richly arranged piano-based ballad "Beautiful" that clearly illustrates the depth of Flo's vocal power. Harmony vocals contribute great texture in the song's mid-section. "The Love That We Have Found" is a richly arranged and bluesy track backed with piano and other instrumentation, including Fred Schendel on pump organ.
Satisfied" is an upbeat rock track that explores the upper end of Flo's range and is certainly another album standout. Her voice soars above the instrumentation except when it is heavily processed in the beginning of the second verse and delivers lyrics flawlessly at an extremely rapid speed. Listen for her light backing harmonies in the choruses and Fred's brief organ solo in the mid-section. The Adonia String Trio joins Fred Schendel's piano and backs Flo in the everso sensitively sung "Getting Past The Apathy" (for Sarah). We especially enjoyed the way Flo's emotionally delivered vocal was processed on the recording and Fred's rich real string arrangement performed by the trio.
Flo performs the sensitive ballads "If" and "Live" (Special Thanks To Tonye Holyde) by herself--lead, backing vocals and piano--illustrating her range, depth and versatility in the performance. These two very natural recordings are absolutely delightful. The album concludes with the title track "Practice Room." It is a long and tenderly sung ballad that blends pop, progressive and country stylings and is the standout of the album. Fred Schendel (keyboards, piano, acoustic guitar, drums), Steve Babb (bass) and Susan Hawkins (viola) provide instrumentals. The song illustrates Flo's power, range and ability to deliver material evocatively. Practice Room met every expectation we had for Flo's debut. It is a tremendous debut album, introduction to the artist and the start of an exciting solo career!
Coming Around Album Review by Musical Discoveries (26 July 2009) We first heard Flo Paris as one of the singers in the progressive band Glass Hammer. Her solos and backing vocal parts across the band's numerous albums, DVDs and live performances added a lot of texture to the band's sound. In the run up to her 2006 debut album Practice Room (review), Flo contributed a song to All This Time (review). Flo's latest release is a ten track collection entitled Coming Around (Flo Paris Music (USA), 2009).
With the release of Coming Around, Flo identifies her music with the folk/Americana style. There is a country flare to the acoustic guitar or piano backed tunes. The album's arrangements are largely acoustic but are also at times filled with lush keyboard washes. Flo's sweet voice glides atop the arrangements of the ten individual tracks.
With all music and lyrics written by Flo, she also provides vocals, backing vocals and acoustic guitar as well as the piano part on "The Truth." She is joined by Jason Massey (electric guitar, synths/seys/organ sounds, mandolin, banjo, Bass) and Seth Roberts (background vocals and bass on "The Lie"). Andrew Osenga contributed electric guitar on "Coming Around." The album was produced by Seth Roberts and Jason Massey and was co-Produced by Flo Paris; recorded at Lynsong in Atascadero, CA and, like her othe work had a bit of Glass Hammer involvement, it was mastered at Sound Resources in Chattanooga, TN.
Flo's sweet voice is unmistakable whether she is singing solo or with Glass Hammer. Practice Room was a fantastic appetizer to the main course featured in Coming Around. Life themes within the lyrics in her new songs have evolved from the gospel intonations of her former work. The infectiously upbeat title track that closes the album speaks about growth and perhaps says it all.
Goodbye" is the album's rhythmic, heartfelt and folk-styled opening number. A reprise of the lyrical content entitled "Goodbye 2" is differently arranged as a slower paced acoustic ballad and is evocatively sung with lush vocal layers adding texture to the tune. Each version has individual merits and it's obvious why Flo included them both on the album.
Love and Music" is an upbeat rock-oriented Americana-styled number. Acoustic and electric guitar, bass and drum set provide the perfect instrumental foundation for Flo's evocative vocal part. Equally percussive, accompanied by a tender mandolin part, the lyrics to "Love and Music" tug at listeners heartstrings. Flo delivers the ballad "Maybe" with wrenching emotion atop lush keyboard washes and acoustic guitar.
The Lie"--the first of a pair of brief opposing themed tracks--is brightly performed atop two acoustic guitar parts and is graced with lovely vocal layers supporting Flo's lead. The second is entitled "The Truth" and in contrast is sweetly sung with simple piano backing, entirely solo. The production is outstanding.
The standout "Dance" is an infectiously upbeat verse-chorus acoustic number. Again, Flo's sweet voice glides above the outstandingly produced arrangements. "Gypsy," which begins in stark contrast sung atop lone acoustic guitar, develops into a lovely more robustly arranged tune. The two tracks work extremely well, as in the pair above, alongside each other in the running order.
The balance of Coming Around is achieved through variety of the tracks, tempos and rich production. To promote her new album, Flo has teamed up with NoiseTrade in a limited time pay-what-you-want or a tell-five-friends album download campaign. Visit the artist's website to listen to samples and to obtain the album. Flo Paris has produced an outstanding second solo album and has provided her listeners a novel way to obtain it online. Bravo!
Clubbing Inspiration by Ashley Schwellenbach The girl who went to Nashville
Flo Paris didn’t have any question as to whether she could hit the 14-song mark. Writing 14 songs in 28 days would be easy. Writing 14 caliber songs that she could comfortably feature on one of her albums was the true challenge. Mediocrity was the enemy. Not time.
The SLO native, who moved to Nashville a couple of years ago, first participated in FAWM in 2009, encouraged by Rooks and Miller. For whatever reason, 2009 felt like a good year to begin.
Besides being a stay-at-home mom, Paris has made her career in the music industry as a mostly folk-rock singer.
“My parents were musicians long before I was even born,” she said. “My mom had been signed to Warner Brothers as a teenager in the ’60s. It was kind of like there was no way I wouldn’t be a musician. My parents were so supportive that it was never viewed as an unrealistic goal.”
As she embarked on her 28-day writing flurry, Paris asked her friends and fans to suggest song ideas for FAWM. She would pick her 14 favorites and transform them into song. What she wound up with was 219 song titles and a spreadsheet that she generated, with the help of her husband, to pick her 14 favorites.
“I had never done anything like that before and I thought that it would stifle the creative process,” admitted Paris. “It wound up being completely the opposite. It really changed a lot of how I write songs in general.”
In fact, the process was so successful that on Jan. 1, 2010 Paris announced on her blog that she was looking for song titles for her new FAWM season.
There were some challenges last year, even for a pro like Paris. Keeping track of two young daughters didn’t always leave as much time as she would have liked to write. She recalls locking herself in a closet as soon as they were napping to begin recording songs. And she clocked a lot of late nights, writing her songs after her daughters had gone to bed. She worked on her fourteenth song late into the final night of the competition. But she’s learned that creativity doesn’t always go to the artist. Sometimes, the artist must pursue.
“I used to worry about that a lot more in my early days of writing,” she said. “I used to think that inspiration would hit. In the last few years I’ve set aside time and wrote. If it didn’t happen overnight, that song just needs more time to grow. I have songs that have been half-written for years. It’s kind of like watching a baby grow.”