Individually, Rachelle Garniez, Amanda Homi and Terry Radigan are three gifted singers, songwriters, storytellers, and multi-instrumentalists with their own distinct styles. Together, as VickiKristinaBarcelona, they create something unique and magical through imaginative interpretations of Tom Waits songs. The trio shares this joyful music on their first album, Pawn Shop Radio, which arrives on May 29th.
Like a wild spin around the dial, Pawn Shop Radio covers a colorful spectrum of musical styles. While quite diverse, Pawn Shop Radio remains marvelously cohesive, coalescing around the artists’ gorgeous and inventive three-part harmonies and a treasure trove of instruments — from accordions to zills. Picture the Triplets of Belleville disguised as Depression Era hobos riding the rails across America stopping to play dance parties and funerals along the road to nowhere. VickiKristinaBarcelona creates music that is at once powerful, playful and poignant, with each member bringing her own distinctive sensibilities to the group’s sound: Garniez’s genre-fluid cabaret, Homi’s global rhythms and forms, and Radigan’s traditional Americana Roots.
VickiKristinaBarcelona began several years ago as something done just for fun in a Brooklyn bar before solidifying as a bona fide self-contained band in 2017. The three seasoned musicians found common ground at the Waits crossroad of poetry and groove, although their interpretations are assertive and unapologetic. “We aim to re-imagine the songs with love, and bring a feminine perspective to the rough and rugged wreckage — which in itself alters what is typically considered feminine. The mythic picaresque male archetypes are transformed, their beauty and vulnerability revealed. Melodies are unearthed and shine like polished diamonds, no longer in the rough.”
The band’s name too reflects the trio’s belief in the positive forces of reinvention. VickiKristinaBarcelona serves as a gently tweaked repurposing, with slightly altered spelling, of the 2008 Woody Allen film Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which focuses on the lives of three women. With this sly, mischievous wink, the group flips the script, reclaiming the names and — most importantly — the power.
Today Glide is excited to premiere the video for the trio’s take on Tom Waits’ “Innocent When You Dream” of his 1987 album Franks Wild Years. For this version, they creatively re-imagine the song a Celtic lullaby of regret and redemption, complete with three-part harmonies and a treasure trove of instruments, including banjo, harmonium and accordion. Compared to Waits’ low key and lo-fi original, this rendition is given a heightened vibrancy with dramatic and sunny harmonies and a more pronounced accordion. The video was shot on location in the beautiful Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York. The sun-splashed dreamy quality, emerald green landscape and simple narrative reflect the yearning bittersweet lyrics and melody, culminating in an artful mixing in of the live performance footage, ending in the serendipitous pealing of church bells.
The group shares their thoughts on the inspiration and process behind the song:
“Rather than completely reinventing “Innocent When You Dream”, we chose to emphasize the dreaminess by combining the melodic breathing of the accordion with the pulsating drone of the harmonium, creating a rich hypnotic ocean of sound. The banjo provides an anchoring percussive folksy feeling, and the a cappella chorus at the end never fails to stun live audiences. The instrumental interlude is a quotation of a traditional Irish fiddle tune, expressing nostalgia for the soft green fields of innocence.”
Pawn Shop Radio is out May 29th. For more music and info visit vickikristinabarcelonaband.com.