Songwriter and film composer Gabriel Judet-Weinshel might not sound immediately familiar, but like many solo artists his sound is well worth considering, particularly his ambitious project Unpinnable Butterflies. With the rousing musical charm of Van Morrison mixed with the avant indie of Andrew Bird, Judet-Winshel is surely a sure-felt collaborator and artistic wunderkind.
When Grammy-nominated producer and composer Scott Healy (Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Phoebe Snow) first heard a collection of Gabriel’s demos and agreed to produce the songwriter’s first record for indie imprint sonaBLAST! Records, Gabriel found himself again surrounded by musical luminaries, as Healy assembled an all-star cast of some of New York City’s greatest session players and special guests.
His debut, The Exile of Saint Christopher, featured legendary drummer Shawn Pelton (Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash), Bakithi Kumalo of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” and folk-rock sensation Brett Dennen lending guest vocals.
Gabriel’s upcoming record and second collaboration with Healy, Radio Ocean was released September 24, 2021 via sonaBLAST! Records. It’s a sprawling and raucous affair, over a decade in the making. The record expands the sound of Gabriel’s sometimes intimate first record into a wider, free-wheeling and eclectic stew, channeling everything from country, to west African guitar riffs, to classic rock.
Healy and Judet-Weinshel have outdone themselves in assembling a who’s-who of A-list talent once again. The 13-tune album features a returning Shawn Pelton and Curt Bisquera (Mick Jagger, Tom Petty) on drums, the totemic Lee Sklar (James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Carole King) on bass, Jason Orme (Alanis Morissette) on guitar, a full horn session comprised of Conan O’Brien’s Basic Cable Band veterans; as well as featured guest appearances by Americana darlings Birds of Chicago (JT Nero and Allison Russell), the saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly (Jon Batiste, Lee Konitz), chanteuse Jessica Childress (Aloe Blacc, Portugal. The Man), indie maverick Kate Tucker, and esteemed vocalist Perla Batalla (Leonard Cohen).
Glide is premiering the ambitious “Sweet Loretta” video that stuns with its accomplished cinematography and stunning visuals. And yes the song is spot on old school rock and soul courtesy of meaty organ and knock em dead saxophone interplay and of course Tuckers fervent vocals. Check out the video below and Judet-Weinshel’s take on the video itself and the making of…
This rollicking country two-step begins with Adam and Eve listening to ‘the war on the radio,’ practicing card tricks, and learning to speak. Cut to Godot having a drink at Balthazar (I’m thinking the iconic Soho bistro), remembering the time he tried to bring a god to Joan of Arc, but could only find ‘clothes and movie stars.’ The tune ends with Cassandra (Trojan priestess of Greek mythology whose auguries were never believed) and her ‘vision of a red sea’ that just makes the people ‘laugh harder and harder.’ In this cacophony of characters, we are importuned to ‘stick around / just another hour ‘till daylight.’ Indie rocker Kate Tucker shares the mic.
The Sweet Loretta music video was an impromptu, out-of-the-back-of-a-production van sort of affair, a gallimaufry of found footage, or, in other words, the sort of meal you cook when your refrigerator has been turned asunder but there are still some good victuals to be found if you are inclined to rummage. The bricolage began with run-and-gun 16mm footage I stole when Kate Tucker and I (who is also a featured guest on the tune), as well as some other dear friends, spent a week together in the sylvan woods of Maine shooting a documentary (whose sundry subjects included sustainable boat building, beer making and drinking, tick avoiding, and goat raising). I convinced Kate to book it down main street (‘you just robbed a bank,’ I said), and then I joined her, and our buddy E.T. Feigenbaum grabbed the camera (later, Jared Watson both cinematographed and played ‘Farmer,’ and Jessie English offered art direction and joie de vivre). The bricolage was made all the more bricolage-y by the addition of chalk on pavement (shot subsequently, back in Brooklyn), and fragments of tour video that my dear friend Aidan Fraser captured when he and I spindled our way up the West coast many years past, hopscotching dive bars and even more questionable establishments for the good cause of the troubadour. The icing on top of this escapade (have I mixed too many metaphors?) are some animated paintings of mine, as well as morsels of other mystery footage from prior engagements. I had no plan, and still don’t—only a sense of the tune’s rollicking rhythm and jagged narration, and its central premise: ‘the world is good / you just mixed up the pieces.’