Deb Pasternak

Deb Pasternak


Combine the bohemian folk-jazz leanings of Rickie Lee Jones, the shimmering melodicism of Jonatha Brooke and the raw gutsy blues of Rory Block, and you get a rough approximation of where Deb Pasternak is coming from. As for where she's going, that's most definitely uncharted territory.


In today's music business, where qualities like originality or raw emotion have become part of marketing rhetoric - it is often difficult to discern from reviews and buzz, the artists who might truly be speaking a unique language. Deb Pasternak, a self-professed student and observer of our society is one such artist. She watches reads and listens to the world in which she lives - from Oprah to Neil Young, from Buffy to baseball. Her portrayal of life experience - through lyrics and music that are both "pop and deep" - creates a powerful cultural reflection for the listener.

On her new cd, "Home," Pasternak takes much of the common human experience - facing fear or loss and love - and creates a cultural space to feel these emotions deeply. Pasternak writes across styles - giving nods to pop, folk, country, jazz and even grunge - as if to use the genre skipping to further denote the universality of the everywoman voice with which she sings.

Raised in New England, Pasternak was not formally trained as a musician, although her earliest memories include singing, and she spent years in the children's church choir. She started playing guitar and singing songs mainly as an outlet during her youth, due to the fact that rheumatoid arthritis kept her unable to participate in sports. She entertained friends at parties and eventually started playing cover gigs, mainly to pick up relatively easy money in the summertime during college. She didn't consider music as a profession until later when the severity of her arthritis stymied other plans for a physically active life, and this emotional outlet became career path.

Pasternak has been in the music scene since the mid-90's when she first started catching the ears of critics and industry insiders, playing prestigious conferences, being nominated for and winning awards and garnering national press acclamation. Still, in a world defined by format radio and genre partitioned music stores, Pasternak's continual refusal to fit into a genre box or produce flavor of the day cds has resulted in a career with a more windy path than one might expect.

The long climb is due, in part, to Pasternak's own hiatus from the business of music - following the events of September 11. Pasternak was motivated to get involved in democracy, organizing politically within her community. Understanding that personal empowerment emerges through self-acceptance, Pasternak believes that shame, guilt and fear are powerful contributors to a sense of inadequacy and hopelessness. By articulating the emotions of facing the darker sides of ourselves, Pasternak's music serves to help inspire an individual's self-empowerment and engagement. While this may be the underpinning of her music, Pasternak's nightingale vocals merged with her brilliant lyricism and musicality are the gem that grabs the listener. "Out there lies a landscape of people just like meÉ each chases his own passion, like a child climbs a treeÉ"

In recording "Home," Pasternak invited her live band into the studio for three days - then taught them the eleven songs there on the spot - and the resulting arrangements are energetic, fresh and spare. Although many of the songs do have overdubs - backing vocals on the three "singles," - Home, The Race and The Road, most of what you hear - from Deb's vocals to all of Tom West's keys are the original session tracks. What is amazing about the band on this album is their versatility - going from a 40's jazz ballad No Need to Venture Outside to the reckless rock of The Road.

Pasternak has spent the past ten years lovingly developing her craft - producing cds that consistently have major label quality production and honing a live performance which has now earned her the status as the "stealth bomber" of unknown acts. Pasternak is a performer and writer who simply keeps broadening her artistic palette. "Home," with its simple and spacious production, should serve to further advance Deb Pasternak's career, turning even more people onto this very pop and very deep artist.


One Regret

Written By: Deb Pasternak

Nothing can erase this guilt
Well guiltÕs just a waste of time
And I canÕt forget my one regret
Of loving a man who treated me unkindly

It was all a romantic vision
I learned to love on a Hollywood movie screen
To my barbie, he was more than Ken
And to my heart he was more than me

So I walked into the wall
And I tripped over the chair
And I told the disapproving lot of you all
I can handle this because I know he cares

Nothing can erase this guilt
Though guiltÕs just a waste of my time
And I canÕt forget my one regret
Of loving a man who treated me unkindly

So I walked into the door
And I fell down the stairs
And I told you again like I told you before
I can handle this because I know he cares

Sweet addiction
Fact is, thereÕs nothing sweet there at all
So guilty for falling in love with my ruin
Never thought IÕd be so small

Nothing can erase this guilt
Though guilt is erasing me
I canÕt forget my one regret
And until I do, I wonÕt be free
I canÕt be free.

(I'm Gonna) Stay

Written By: Deb Pasternak

I used to feel so lucky at one lover's kindness to me
I'd run after a runaround thinking our love was meant to be
But you gotta learn to love the wrong things of the past
Cause it's only in forgiveness any peace can ever last

I was lonely when I was crowded
Crowded when I was alone
Wasted there just wishing
That my home was more my home
Love was not the answer
Cause loving felt like pain
And when I couldn't even get my loving right
All I thought I had was shame

YouÕve gotta treat me with love
Talk to me with respect
Don't forget to help me laugh
Cause I get so serious
This time I found love in a gentle way
This time I found a place where IÕm gonna stay

The Race

Written By: Deb Pasternak

In a long race
You gotta take a first step
And get ready
Go on and take a deep breath
And you tell me
When you think you wonÕt last
Cause win or lose, I want to be here
Every time that you ask

And when youÕre here for me
Into my race I can go
And chase after my dreams
ÔTil IÕve got something to show
And with you at my side,
ItÕs okay to run slow
Cause win or lose-
This race is the way that we know

So be strong for me
And IÕll be strong for you
And IÕll help you
When you ask me to
From the longest day
Through the longest night
We will find a way
To be alright

So be here with me
And letÕs let everyone know
That above everyplace
You are where I want to go
Each race starts
With a step and a risk
But win or lose-
This race with you is my wish
Win or lose-
This race with you is my wish
Win or lose
This race is my wish


Home, 2003 Self-produced cd
Eleven: 2000 Self-Released cd
Demo: 1998 Self-Released, 4 Song cd
More: 1997 Signature Sounds cd
Trust Me, IÕm Soulful: 1994 Self-Released cd
partial compilation list:
Nemo/BMA Compilation, 2003 Boston
Wildfire Compilation, 2000 San Francisco
Respond, 1998 Signature Sounds
Performing Songwriter Best DIY, 1997
This is Boston not Austin, Black Wolf Records, 1995

Set List

Amy & me
The race
Still want more
ItÕs all over
Room in heaven
No need
Can be
The road
Any way

One regret
Reading the sign
Keep on

Walking south
Woman action
Fishing blues
Other mary
Sweet addict

Mighty tight Woman - Sippie Wallace
My Funny Valentine - Rogers & Hart
Guilty - Randy Newman
Look out For My Love - Neil Young
Divided we fall
Tear it down
WeÕre here
All I know