“Screenplay” by Tierney Sutton Band re-imagines movie soundtrack gems

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The songs on Tierney Sutton Band’s new album, “Screenplay” will be familiar to most listeners. While the lyrics or general soundscape might be famous, the Tierney Sutton Band approach will be less so. And that’s okay. The result is understated, but not underwhelming music that makes audiences question what they understood about the music previously.

“Screenplay” covers roughly 80 years of movie soundtracks. Iconic songs like “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “You’re the One That I Want,” and “The Sound of Silence” are among the gems on the album. With 15 songs, “Screenplay” is bound to appeal to movie and music lovers.

About Tierney Sutton Band

The quintet is based in Los Angeles. The band’s history is 25 years long. During their long history, the band has amassed eight Grammy nominations and have won over audiences around the world.

The group’s style can be described as jazz with pop and rock sensibilities. On their latest album, Tierney Sutton Band shows an uncanny ability for taking a song a part, and putting it back together in a context that sounds unique. Making well-loved songs sound new is another aspect of Tierney Sutton Band’s appeal.

Tierney Sutton Band found their knack for movie soundtrack songs when they were asked to create the soundtrack for “Sully.” The movie’s director, the iconic Clint Eastwood asked the band to undertake the challenge. It seems that Tierney Sutton Band has found a specific niche in regard to movies and music.

The Tierney Sutton Band is comprised of Tierney Sutton on vocals, Christian Jacob on piano, Kevin Axt on bass, Ray Brinker on drums and Trey Henry on bass. On select tracks, Serge Merlaud plays guitar and Alan Bergman provides vocals.

The sound of “Screenplay” by Tierney Sutton Band

Part of the fun of listening to the recording is skipping to favorite songs and hearing what the band has done with them. There is a touch of class that comes from the vocal styling and the instrumentation.

Two standouts on an album of interesting songs are “The Sound of Silence” and “You’re the One That I Want.” “Hopelessly Devoted to You” is beautifully rendered as well.

“The Sound of Silence” by Tierney Sutton Band

The Simon and Garfunkel classic from the film “The Graduate” retains its quiet intensity that allows the audience to focus on the song’s poetry. A fast-paced rush of piano and drums opens the song, which makes it seem as if the song will be more raucous than it is. A fast drum tattoo continues as the lyrics are sung. Sutton’s voice is feminine and soon shows a mix of jazz and rock aspects. The way notes are held and phrases are curved while the bass booms is engaging. In the middle, a jazzy blend of the instrumentation allows all the instruments to be showcased. When the vocals return, they are sometimes unadorned, only to cut off and a quick rush of music ends the song. It is artful and smart.

“You’re the One that I Want” by Tierney Sutton Band

A classic jazz soundscape takes over where a decidedly rocking one exists in the original. A shimmering crush of bass, drums and piano lead listeners to the start of the impassioned lyrics. Some listeners might remember that the original is a duet- – here, it is not. This level of risk-taking turns tribute or cover tunes into more than just singing someone else’s songs. Instead, each word has a different meaning because it is sung by one person. What disappears from this version is the arguably kitsch-sounding “ooh-ooh’s.” Here, they are softened, broken up and assigned a different pitch. The vowel sounds are punctuated by the soundscape. The style turns taken in the song make it applicable to a wide-range of listeners, as opposed to it being trenched in the world of perennial teenagers, Sandy and Danny.

“Screenplay” is a beautiful collection of classic songs made unique. Removed from their original contexts, the songs are re-visioned and given broad appeal.

 

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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