Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My First Record w/ Stephanie Schneiderman

My First Record w/ Stephanie Schneiderman

Today on The Vinyl District Portland we are going to give you two additional entries into the My First Record pantheon. Why? Because each of the artists that wrote them are going to be spending this weekend celebrating the release of their new albums and they are deserving of all the praise and support as we can give them for making that happen. So, we cede the spotlight first to Stephanie Schneiderman. This erstwhile member of the folk-pop trio Dirty Martini has just released her 7th solo album, Rubber Teardrop. It continues in the downtempo sexy electronica vibe that she cooked up with collaborator Keith Schreiner on her previous effort Dangerous Fruit but manages to turn up the heat and the intensity throughout. Ms. Schneiderman will be performing both an opening set with Dirty Martini and a headlining set of her solo work tonight at the Alberta Rose Theatre starting at 8:30 p.m.

I grew up in a house full of music. I have two older sisters and when we weren’t practicing on piano, French horn, clarinet and flute, we played records. We had this tiny little record player with horrible sounding speakers that kept cutting in and out. The first songwriters that stood out to me were Paul Simon, Pat Benatar and Billy Joel.

I used to play the album Glass Houses for hours while roller skating around the perimeter of my (tiny) basement absorbing the melodies and lyrics. I think what pulled me in were the stories told in the songs and Billy Joel. I loved his bravado. I loved his voice. I loved his band. And if I hear that album now I can remember the smell of my basement.

Another album that made an impact on me was Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young’s So Far. I discovered it when I was about 14 and I couldn’t get enough of the harmonies and listened to the whole album over and over again. I liked the feeling that I was taken on a ride from the beginning to the end. And I was drawn to the darker melodies which I think influence my writing to this day.
Paul Simon’s Still Crazy After All These Years is still one of my all time favorite albums. It’s an album that my parents played a lot and my earliest musical memories involve being at the beach listening to it. His songwriting is clean and poignant and creates so much room to breathe. The melody lines become that much more potent because they’re surrounded by space. Every word feels important. And then there’s so much ease about the whole thing. Most of my favorite songwriters have these same qualities.

Pat Benatar was and still is a huge inspiration for me. I’m part of the generation of young girls who stood in front of their mirrors singing her songs trying to emulate her foxiness. In The Heat Of The Night was the album I listened to a bunch. She brought such a different angle to rock and roll, a more feminine but equally bold approach. Her songs were punchy little gems and so easy to sing along to. I recently had the opportunity to open for her this last summer, and she’s still amazing.

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