Blueberry Tempest in a Teacup
(The Shaz Records)
You might think of "tea" these days as the cultural phenomenon of collecting as much steaming hot gossip on others as possible. Perhaps that inspired Gwen Snyder Siegal's thrilling new Blueberry album Tempest in a Teacup, but I'd wager that the truth is something more cerebral, multi-faceted, and personal, like the album itself. While this collection of songs has many tracks that could and should be on many a modern adult alternative podcast, there is zero filler. Few current songwriters can create such convincing and fully realized settings from track to track as the Woodstock-based Blueberry can. Engaging, killer songs like the self-assurance-versus-a-witch-trial pomp of "Burn" or the
storybook persistence of the dreamy-ballad-meets-Zep-soul of "Keep On" make this far more than background music.
Coproduced by Gwen and Kenny Siegal and recorded by Matthew Cullen at Old Soul and Allaire Studios, the album is bursting with theatrical melodic life while still sounding crisp and smooth. "Been Awake" breezes in, reminiscent of the drifting along of the Odelay-era Beck song "Jackass" before settling into something jazzier. The record's numerous supporting cast members—from Rasputina's Melora Creagor to Jessie Chandler, Adam Widoff, and many more—make the proceedings a very Alice in Wonderland-tea-party affair, in a gloriously enjoyable manner that never overshadows Gwen as the principle musical force here.
—Morgan Y. Evans