Bria Skonberg | Nothing Never Happens

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Nothing Never Happens

by Bria Skonberg

Soulful, stylish, smoky jazz and blues featuring vocals, original content and clever classics
Genre: Jazz: Crossover Jazz
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Blackout
5:24 $1.29
2. So Is the Day
6:10 $1.29
3. Blackbird Fantasy
4:37 $1.29
4. Square One
4:08 $1.29
5. Villain Vanguard
4:40 $1.29
6. Bang Bang
4:40 $1.29
7. What Now
4:36 $1.29
8. I Want to Break Free
7:07 $1.29
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Poised to be one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation...Bria Skonberg looks like a Scandinavian angel, plays trumpet like a red hot devil and sings like a dream " - Wall Street Journal

"It's such a groove watching my skol sister follow in the path of Pops, Louis Armstrong, the one who start it all... She even follows his motto, play it, don't say it!!" - Quincy Jones

"A millennial shaking up the jazz world”- Vanity Fair

​"Ms. Skonberg has become the shining hope of hot jazz on the strength of a clarion trumpet style indebted to Louis Armstrong, a smooth purr of a singing voice inspired by Anita O'Day and the wholesome glow of youth" - New York Times

To most of us, the adventures of trailblazing vocalist, trumpeter and songwriter Bria Skonberg are borderline unbelievable. The breadth of emotions and styles on Nothing Never Happens mirrors Skonberg’s career to date, which boasts an impressive range of accomplishments and accolades. In the last year alone, she sang the music of Aretha Franklin alongside Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, played with U2 at the iconic Apollo, sat in with the Dave Matthews Band, was a featured guest with Jon Batiste, performed as part of The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour, and sang the National Anthem at Madison Square Garden for a
NY Rangers game. The 2017 Juno Award Winner for Best Vocal Jazz Album and 2018 Juno nominee has garnered over 8 million streams on Spotify, made the Top 5 on Billboard jazz charts, and was voted #2 Rising Star by DownBeat Magazine. Her new album "Nothing Never Happens" mirrors all of these events.

Whether it’s the hassles and hurdles that arise for a musician touring the world, the run-of-the-mill mishaps that inevitably disrupt daily life, or the barrage of bad news constantly clamoring for attention; Bria Skonberg succinctly captures the hectic tenor of our times in the title of her latest album, Nothing Never Happens. The trumpeter and vocalist found her own escape in order to craft a new set of originals and artfully chosen covers that spans the emotional and stylistic spectrum.

Nothing Never Happens invites listeners to join Skonberg in diverting attention from the overload of social media, breaking news, political bickering and negative energy, with a stunning album that at times channels the ubiquitous anger and hopelessness that confronts us all in the modern media landscape, but at others manages to drown out that white noise and shine a light on the
serene and the celebratory.

The album showcases Skonberg’s working band of recent years – pianist Mathis Picard, bassist Devin
Starks and drummer Darrian Douglas – along with guest appearances by saxophonist Patrick Bartley, Hammond B3 master Jon Cowherd, and guitar great Doug Wamble. The project was helmed by GRAMMY® Award-winning producer Eli Wolf, shining a spotlight on Skonberg’s compelling songwriting, smoky vocals and blistering trumpet playing along with the scintillating chemistry of the ensemble.

In calling the album Nothing Never Happens, Skonberg captures the chief obstacle to its own creation.
“My favorite way to write music is just to sit at a piano, be quiet and wait for things to surface,” she
says, hinting at the struggle to find those peaceful moments in which to compose. “I needed to get out
and find a space to process the overload of information and feelings because of what's been going on
in the world in the last few years.”

Of course it also helps to commune with sympathetic listeners, and Skonberg also enjoyed a unique
opportunity to workshop her new music through a monthly residency at Joe’s Pub in New York City, an
eclectic venue where audiences were not necessarily jazz aficionados. “It’s a venue where you can do
whatever you want,” she says. “I was looking to get some more grit into my sound on this album. That’s
a big part of my personality that hasn't been as represented on my recordings in the last couple of

There is an arc to Nothing Never Happens, beginning with the soulful opening song, “Blackout.” At the
surface the song could be taken as a classic “wronged lover” blues, albeit updated for the modern age.
But the song is more a rejection of media itself, thereby becoming a mission statement for the album as
a whole. When Skonberg sings “I’m done with your face / I’m done with your friends,” it could be directed at an ex, but it also conjures a certain inescapable name that has dominated the discourse over the
past few years, with toxic results. Her pointed solo provides a much-needed moment of catharsis.
“Just being able to play music right now is essential to getting to a level of normalcy,” she says. “Playing
trumpet really lets me get all those emotions out. It’s not always joyous, but it is a release.”

Skonberg originally recorded “So Is the Day” on her 2012 album of the same name, with a sultry New
Orleans flavor. The powerful song has since become a staple of her live sets, slowing down in the
process to the dirge-like feel that it takes on here. The slow burn is a testament to the patience and
rooted feel of Douglas, while the addition of Wamble’s guitar and Cowherd’s organ adds to the dense,
swampy atmosphere.

Zooming out for a bit of historical perspective, “Blackbird Fantasy” is an ingenious mash-up of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” and Duke Ellington’s “Black and Tan Fantasy” that reflects on the cyclical nature of history. The hybrid piece encompasses the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights era that paralleled the British Invasion, and our modern day still much in need of change. The wistful “Square One” recognizes how much is still left to be accomplished, whether in life or in society. Co-written by Nashville songwriter
Carriad Harmon, the song is simultaneously resigned and hopeful, retaining a sense of optimism based
on what's been learned and accomplished so far.

The raucous “Villain Vanguard” plays on the name of the legendary jazz club but was inspired by the
Women’s Marches that rose up in the wake of the 2016 election. The piece itself captures the marching
pace and outpouring of voices that accompany these protests. Sonny Bono’s oft-recorded “Bang Bang” – which has been covered by Stevie Wonder, Lady Gaga and Nancy Sinatra, whose version Skonberg discovered via the soundtrack to Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill – is another piece that serves double duty: originally about the heartbreak of a childhood romance, it now
inevitably conjures images of the gun violence that has erupted across the country. Such tragic events
necessarily lead to questions like “What Now?” though Skonberg’s remorseful ballad is more intimate,
capturing the self-doubt that can encroach in the twilight hours.

Opening with Starks’ infectious bass groove, Queen’s “I Want To Break Free” ends the album with a
soaring sense of escape. The original’s anthemic melody is enhanced here by the band’s exuberant
expressiveness, highlighted by Bartley’s explosive solo. Its inclusion harkens back to memories of
Skonberg’s freewheeling high school days. “Talk about being an optimist!” she recalls with a laugh. “I
had a convertible in British Columbia, where it rains ten months of the year. But there were always a
few days when I could go out, put the top down and rock out to that song.”



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