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Pilar French | Alive

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Pilar's Myspace Pilar French Website

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United States - Oregon

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Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Blues: West Coast Blues Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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by Pilar French

"Alive" is an insightful and at times gritty album about the human instinct to perservere. If you are looking for a musical journey and self-contemplation this is the album for you.
Genre: Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alive
4:59 $0.99
2. One More Dance
5:08 $0.99
3. No More (Grandma's Song)
4:40 $0.99
4. Catacomb
3:03 $0.99
5. Prelude to Mercy
0:59 $0.99
6. Mercy
3:20 $0.99
7. Try
3:38 $0.99
8. Higher Ground
3:34 $0.99
9. End of the Day
5:41 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Alive, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Pilar French's new album is about perseverance, her own and those of others. Through insightful lyrics, her compelling voice, and the help of some talented musical friends, she has fashioned an album leaving the listener with an appreciation of her musical skills and deep insight into the qualities we find in ourselves when we're faced with adversity.
"I am mesmerized by the human instinct, not so much to survive, but to persevere," she says. "It's such an interesting part of the human psyche…And as I wrote each song, the drive to persevere kept resurfacing even though I was writing about different subjects. Perseverance is there when overcoming a breakup just as much as when trying to avoid something that imminently life threatening such as getting caught in a riptide and swept out to sea… It’s there when you fall in love and battle the fear of becoming vulnerable to somebody else."
Alive is sometimes bluesy, sometimes pop or folksy with a jazzy touch…backed by guitars, drums, bass, cello and some of Portland, Oregon's best singers who provide backup. Each song is unique in its own style. "I'm trying to offer a lot of variety… that's why I write songs in different styles," she says.
These are songs written from life. The title song is the true story of a man who spent two entire nights floating in the Puget Sound fighting a riptide that threatened to pull him out to sea, yet swimming to shore on his own; surviving due to his own will and his thoughts of his family.
On two of the songs here, one inspiring and poignant, and the other righteously angry, French connects her musical career with her "other" career, the law. "Try", "Catacomb" are direct results of a long, harrowing trial in which she was on the team that attempted to find justice for a woman and her son who had been brutalized, kidnapped, and tortured by a prison escapee.
They are the definition of trials…and tribulations.
"Try" was written during the trial and worked out on a mandolin in the hotel room where she was staying during the proceedings. "Catacomb" holds the bitterness and despair of the loss of the case at trial and the acceptance of the need for yet a second appeal after an already six-year battle.
"Higher Ground" is "Me coming out of that and feeling better about things…getting over the mourning of it." But it is also the most political song on the album and was partially inspired by the momentum of the Presidential primaries and a personal relief that change was on the way.
“One More Dance” and “Mercy” both purposefully written in the same key are juxtaposing twins. “One More Dance” deals with surviving a heart break while “Mercy” deals with falling in love and the battle to avoid vulnerability and risk of pain.
"No More" embraces perseverance in a different way, by celebrating the life of Pilar’s grandmother who lived to ninety-seven. The song is based on Pilar's conversations with her grandmother shortly before her death.
Yet the beautiful "The End of the Day," the only solo tune, is a lovely resolution.
"I do use music to show my emotions but I also try to write thought-evoking music. Maybe it's intel-rock-tual," she says with a laugh. "A thinking person's music. If you want something you can marinade on, you can listen to multiple times and discover something different every time you listen to it…that's what my music is."

Album Reviews:

Serious songstress
"French combines pop, folk, blues and jazz into her sound, and the title track is a neo-modern sea shanty about the true story of a man who spent two nights floating the Puget Sound fighting a riptide that threatened to pull him out to sea. French’s voice sounds like the comforting spirit that must have kept him going. A lawyer by trade, she also recorded three songs about what it was like to lose a trial in which she was part of a team pursuing justice for a woman and her son who had been brutalized, kidnapped and tortured by a prison escapee in Salem. This is about as far from shallow pop as it gets, and thank God for that." The Portland Tribune

"Song titles like “Alive,” “Mercy” and “Higher Ground” might make you wonder whether Pilar French’s new release (also called Alive) is a covers album, but the Portland singer-songwriter has been busy on both sides of the hyphen. Vocally alternating between airy and nasal, she reminds me of Aimee Mann as well as Portland artist McKinley; as far as songwriting, her quirky melodies and glossy and spiky New Wave production are also, if you will, “McKinleyesque.” French’s “Higher Ground,” a duet with Justin Jude, is a bouncy, would-be radio-ready pop song and the highlight of the album[.]" Willamette Week

Album Credits:

Produced by Rob Stroup and Pilar French
Recorded and Mixed by Rob Stroup at 8-Ball Studio, Portland, OR
Mastered by Ryan Freq Foster at Freq Mastering, Portland, OR
Vocal Production (Pilar French, Rob Stroup, Mary Beth Felker-The Voice Project)

Lead vocals: Pilar French
Duet vocals: Justin Jude (Higher Ground)
Harmonies: Pilar French (One More Dance) Jenni and Amanda Price (Alive and Mercy), Reina G. Collins (Catacomb, No More), Nicole Campbell, Lara Michell, Rachel Taylor Brown (Try)

Drums: Vince Adamé
Lead Guitar: Jeff Koch (Alive, Mercy, Catacomb, No More, Higher Ground), Joshua Slamp (Try, One More Dance), Pilar French (Prelude to Mercy)
Bass: Joshua Slamp (Alive, Mercy, Catacomb, No More, Higher Ground), Jeff Koch (Try, One More Dance)
Rhythm Guitar: Pilar French (all), Jeff Koch (Mercy), Rob Stroup (Catacomb).
Cello: Skip Von Kuske (No More)
Piano and Organ: Reneé Plant (Try, One More Dance, Mercy, Higher Ground)

Album Art: Tammy Paladeni of Tamdini (http://www.tamdini.com)
Photography: Stacey L. Chase (www.schasephotography.com)



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