Summer to Snowflakes
Boston singer/songwriter Terry Kitchen's new CD 'Summer to Snowflakes' is an intimate and personal document, both in it's songwriting and how it was recorded, that nonetheless captures and reflects universal feelings, archetypal stories, and up to the minute world events. From the gentle guitar arpeggios and 'citronella candle' that open 'Listening to Summer' to the graceful piano and winter funeral scene that close 'Snowflakes,' the album highlights Kitchen's detailed, poignant songwriting, understated but expressive singing, and deft guitar fingerings. Between those opening and closing songs are a dozen tracks ranging from wry observation and social commentary ('Cherokee Run,' which compares boom and bust development to the land runs of the 1890s, 'Why Do I Hate My Very Nice Life?' about the hollowness of material success), to stories of personal courage and growth ('Rainbow (in the Middle of the Night),' based on a pivotal scene from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and 'Be a Man About It,' which paints the price of swallowing one's emotions), to absurdist portraits ('Last Straight Boy in Ptown,' and 'Love You Too Soon,' with it's opening confession, 'I went electric at Newport'). The sounds on 'Summer to Snowflakes' range from the immediacy of simple guitar/vocal performances ('Listening to Summer,' 'Why Do I Hate...'), to instrumental flourishes that make the songs come alive in time and place (the banjo that drives 'Rainbow,' the recorder that floats above 'Ship in a Bottle') to full band arrangements. 'If I Were Your Guitar' features a rhythmic Latin groove accented by Lance Martin's flute trills, while two songs are augmented by tasteful horn sections: 'Last Straight Boy in Ptown,' which also showcases Kitchen's Steve Cropper-esque electric guitar work, and the bluesy 'Break the Same Heart Twice.' With the notable exception of 'Build a Bridge from Both Sides,' 'Summer to Snowflakes' was recorded at Kitchen's home studio in Boston. 'It was fun making music at home,' says Kitchen, 'being able to pick up my guitar and punch 'record' whenever I felt inspired. And getting to try things on the spur of the moment, like the organ on 'First Kiss Feel Like Home,' or the autoharp on 'Be a Man About It,' or adding the harmonies to 'Cherokee Run.'' The result is an album that sounds as casual and relaxed as it's writing is razor sharp. 'Build a Bridge from Both Sides' was recorded at reggae producer Chris Wilson's Fletcher Road studio. 'I was familiar with Chris's work for Heartbeat Records, so when I wanted a reggae groove for 'Bridge' he was the first person I thought of. He and (engineer) Josh Driscoll recruited the band, and created a great groove that really fit the positive 'reach out' message of the lyric.' The track could be a theme song for the new administration, fitting since Kitchen attended Occidental College at the same time as Barack Obama. 'Summer to Snowflakes' is the 9th solo CD by Kitchen, whose songs have won the USA Songwriting Competition and Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and been runner up in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. It was mastered by Toby Mountain (David Bowie, Frank Zappa) and the unique light portrait photography is by Judy Hochberg. The CD includes a booklet with full lyrics and credits.