Free Download: She and Him

She and Him- Why do you Let me Stay Here?, Volume 1 2008

We’ve been authorized to offer this song as a free download to our fans..such a good one!
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CD Review: Volume 1, She and Him

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It’s no secret that actors haven’t had the greatest track record concerning their attempts to break into the music industry. Remember Russell Crowe’s band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, for example? Exactly. The musical efforts of other pretty faces haven’t fared much better, usually because, a.) they aren’t anywhere near convincing in their supposed passion for music, or b.) the product itself is just…well…crap. There are, however, a few pleasantly surprising exceptions to the thespian curse. She & Him, the pairing of actress Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, Elf) and indie folk favorite M. Ward, is one of these.

The two met while working on a song for the soundtrack to one of Deschanel’s movies, The Go-Getter. As their friendship grew, Deschanel revealed that she had been recording home demos of her own material for quite some time. Though initially shy about others hearing her work, she eventually gave into Ward’s encouragement and shared them with him. Impressed with the quality of her songwriting, Ward suggested a collaboration to formally record the songs and give the songs the audience they deserved.

It’s immediately clear upon listening to their album, Volume One, that whatever insecurities Deschanel might have had about her ventures into the music world were unfounded. Her voice sparkles over this collection of instantly classic songs, and leaves the listener with no doubts about her massive talent. Ward, already an indie darling known for his delicate, yet emotionally powerful folk, is the perfect musical partner for Deschanel. He is able to arrange the songs in such a way that Deschanel is always supported, but never overpowered or drowned out by superfluous production. As a result, Volume One is a lush, haunting throwback to the early ‘60s, with hints of old country, pop, and classic girl groups.

The first single, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” is a bouncy, sweetly innocent plea to the boy who just doesn’t get how simple love can be. The Phil Spector-inspired beats and instrumentation coupled with the smooth oooo la, la, las on “Sweet Darlin’” are unmistakably reminiscent of girl groups like The Ronettes and The Crystals. Deschanel’s most compelling performance is on the country-tinged “Change is Hard.” A comforting aural arm around the shoulders, she sings directly to every broken heart within weeping distance. “I was never/ no I was never/ no I was never enough/ But I can try/ I can try to toughen up/ I listened when they told me/ if he burns you let him go/ Change is hard/ I should know,” she sings with equal parts regret and determination. Sure to be a pleasant listen any time of year, Volume One is supremely enjoyable in the current summer setting—the crisp, bright jangle of Ward’s George Harrison-influenced guitar on the easy-going “This Is Not A Test” is especially suited for warm, breezy evenings. The three covers on the album, “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” compliment Deschanel’s originals with a charming, gentle vocal approach. With a style that classic, she knows she doesn’t need to make any drastic changes to what comes naturally to her to appeal to music listeners.

What Deschanel and Ward have achieved with Volume One is nothing short of extraordinary. Listeners can forget about the track advance button for this album—every song offers something special and instantly unforgettable, sure to be surpassed only by being performed in a live setting. Madison residents are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to experience just that. This Friday, She & Him will present their body of work at The Barrymore. Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond opens the show at 8:00 pm.

-Shelley Peckham

Media Roundup: She & Him, The Hold Steady and many more shows announced

Summer has finally arrived — the time of year when “the living’s easy,” as the well-known Porgy and Bess line goes — but there is still plenty to do for Madison concertgoers, as multiple new concerts are being announced every week on a near-daily basis. As a result, this entry is something of an exercise in name-dropping, but it is a testament to the number of incredible shows in the coming months.

She & Him coming to the Barrymore!
Blogosphere favorites She & Him (comprised of actress Zooey Deschanel and renowned guitarist and producer M. Ward) will be rolling into the Barrymore Theatre for their first-ever Wisconsin show on Friday, August 8. Tickets are $20 in advance and are sure to go quickly.

Also among the many shows announced this past week: Cotton Jones Basket Ride are set to play Sunday, June 22, at Cafe Montmartre, and were profiled this week on the Washington Post site. Headlights are heading into town on Thursday, July 3, co-headlining at the High Noon Saloon with Dead Confederate. Check out Daytrotter to preview several free tracks from the Champaign, Ill., band.

Immortal Technique is lined up to head a packed bill of talented rappers on Sunday, July 20, at High Noon Saloon, and was recently highlighted in Prefix Magazine for his high school writing contest. Other artists in the July show include D.J. G.I. Joe, Poison Pen, The Circle and D.J. Arch.

Finally, The Hold Steady are returning to Madison on Monday, July 21, for a show at Majestic Theatre. The band is another blog favorite and was profiled this past week on Pitchfork and Paste Magazine, just to name a couple of headlines.

For continued updates on shows, and for ticket information and further details, be sure to bookmark TrueEndeavors.com or add the True Endeavors Google Calendar!

In terms of shows coming to town in the more immediate future, Buckethead was featured Thursday in the Capital Times, heading off an article spotlighting a number of other shows coming up this weekend from True Endeavors: French Kicks, Nels Cline Singers and the triple threat of Kate Walsh, Quincy Coleman and Brandi Shearer. Also don’t miss this entertaining interview with That 1 Guy, opening for Sunday’s Buckethead show at the Barrymore. When asked about his greatest lyrical influences, his answer? Shel Silverstein.

Finally, as usual, below are some reviews and photos from recent shows worth checking out:

“Though I consider myself a long-time admirer of [Langhorne Slim’s] music, his most recent self-titled release displays an artist who’s released his masterpiece to date. On stage he takes those songs and injects their passion and heart on the sleeve honesty into the crowd more than willing to move their feet and have a good time.” – Muzzle of Bees

” The visceral psychedelic blues from Dead Meadow was a first time treat for me and I was completely impressed. Apparently this is the first time that they have been in Madison but I’m sure they’ll be back again to blow us away.” – Madison Music Review

“It seemed almost surreal to have Tegan and Sara playing in the town I live in. I had seen them play 25 times since they last time they played here…” – Miss the Signpost’s notes from following the duo’s tour for several weeks

Photos of the Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers’ High Noon Saloon show – Punk Rock Skunk