Cathy Segal-Garcia takes emotional risks on “Dreamsville”

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Vocalist Cathy Segal-Garcia teams up with sought-after musicians on guitar and piano for her 12th album, “Dreamsville.”

A veteran of the Los Angeles jazz scene, Segal-Garcia has developed a reputation for taking chances. That aspect of her character is present on “Dreamsville.”

A recent release (Mar. 15), “Dreamsville” is a collection of eleven tracks that show Segal-Garcia and her musicians, Josh Nelson on piano, and Larry Koonse on guitar, making emotionally rich music. The recording is not one with big sounds. There is a focus on emotional nuances with each word of the lyrics and each note of the soundscape. “Dreamsville” is the soundtrack to pensive moments under moonlit skies or around backyard fire pits, or simply in the living room as the gentle, but persistent songs unfold.

Segal-Garcia unleashes a vulnerability that is difficult to ignore. From lost lovers to deceased siblings, she sings more in the tradition of Janis Ian than of the more famous jazz names, but it works. The title track and theĀ  “The Three of Us” demonstrate the emotional impact that the songs on this album can have.

“Dreamsville” by Cathy Segal-Garcia

Koonse’s acoustic guitar throbs like an upright bass. Then, it slips into gentle sounds, like acoustic raindrops. The piano is sweet and tinkling. Segal-Garcia’s voice is fragile-sounding at first, but it seems to gather itself as the song continues. There is a lushness that grows, too, but the song never gets loud.

“Dreamsville” was composed by Henry Mancini for the television series “Peter Gunn” that aired from 1958 to 1961. The original version of the song was a bossa nova, but here it has been rendered as a jazz waltz.

“The Three of Us” by Cathy Segal-Garcia

This song is one of two originals on the album. It is a deeply personal song about the singer’s relationship with her deceased twin sisters. The three used to sing as a trio. The soundscape is sparse, as occasional guitar chords accompany the vocals until the second verse.

The word imagery that Segal-Garcia uses to describe how close she was with her sisters makes listeners want to imagine the three of them. And, the song serves as the perfect soundtrack to the sort of ache that must accompany singing alone, when once there had been three voices.

It is on this song that Segal-Garcia reminds listeners of Janis Ian the most – -even the lyrics echo the singer-songwriter.

“Dreamsville” is a thoughtfully rendered recording that will provide the perfect music for those looking for a gentle, but emotionally rich soundtrack.

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2 responses to “Cathy Segal-Garcia takes emotional risks on “Dreamsville””

  1. Dodie, I want to thank you for your perspective and review. You know, as an artist I try not to pay too much attention to both good and bad reviews…but when someone really gets me, such as you did, I feel very honored and thankful. So, please accept my thanks, from the bottom of my heart. All the very best, Cathy

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