Eve Selis
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Eve Selis

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"Eve Selis: “Angels and Eagles”"

What most impresses about Eve Selis's fifth album isn't how she deftly puts her own stamp on such gems as Patty Griffin's “Goodbye” and Gram Parsons' “She,” but that the 10 songs Selis co-wrote here are nearly as good. Whether performing homespun ballads (“That's Enough”), mid-tempo rockers (“Touching the Eifel Tower”) or blues-tinged odes to hope (“Welcome to Paradise”), this San Diego music mainstay and her ace band reaffirm that they are just one break away from hitting the big time.
- San Diego Union Tribune

"Eve Selis Angels and Eagles"

After a four-year hiatus Eve Selis and her band have released their new album Angels and Eagles, and it's a great one. Continuing their long tradition of synthesizing pop, country, rock, R&B, folk, and gospel influences into their own brand of Roadhouse Rock, they take listeners on a very satisfying musical and emotional journey. There are scorching rockers and there are tender ballads. There are also tunes that occupy the space between these extremes, and all are performed with great skill. Every song is penned with an autobiographical honesty and arranged with the intent to maximize the impact of Selis's voice as she sings lyrics that reflect her feelings and chronicle her experiences.

The album begins with the mid-tempo title track, a song about parents "learning to let their children fly." This country-flavored number immediately lets listeners know that Selis's explorations of the many faces of Americana are on track. But they shouldn't get too comfortable because she takes some new and interesting directions. For instance, the heat gets turned up on the next couple of tracks, the scorching "Cryin' Days" and the Tom Petty-influenced "I Believe in Love."
"Street That I Grew Up On" is a collaborative effort between Selis, guitarist Marc Intravaia, and producer Kim McLean, which reinforces the notion that some experiences are simply universal. The verses have a nice country-rock feel that smoothly transitions to something a little bittersweet in the chorus. The lyrics call to mind images that most Americans might recollect from their formative years. It's smartly punctuated by some tasty resonator guitar leads and sweet banjo picking throughout. A simpler approach is taken on "Goodbye," an acoustic ballad that benefits from quieter instrumentation, including accordion and fiddle, setting a perfectly plaintive mood over which Selis sings the wistful words of farewell.

"Touching the Eiffel Tower" is a bright and catchy song that echoes classic pop acts like the Byrds and the Beatles. Memorable hooks are a hallmark of all Eve Selis' songs, and this one seems to have more than its share. Its hummable melody, clever lyrics, and sparkling production could give it huge crossover potential! "One Day at a Time" is the most overt concession to guitarist Cactus Jim Soldi's tenure with Johnny Cash. It chugs and twangs with an energy and rhythm that would have made the Man in Black proud. Perhaps the most personal song of the album is "1000 Kisses," a lively ode to Selis' baby son Henry that perfectly telegraphs the joy she experiences in being his mother. Gram Parsons’ "She" is a soulful number that vibrates with Southern Gospel influences, effectively showcasing her versatility as an artist.

Through it all, Eve Selis is in fine vocal form. She sings with toughness, tenderness, sorrow, and joy. Her seasoned musicians are veterans of the stage and studio. They are experienced, confident, and tasteful. That they can cover so much musical territory while creating a signature sound is something other artists struggle to achieve. On Angels and Eagles, they make it look and sound easy.

Written by Mike Alvarez - San Diego Troubadour

"May Goes Out on Wings of Angels and Eagles"

Long considered San Diego’s Queen of Americana, singer Eve Selis is no longer one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets. Over the past few years, Selis has begun to build a significant European following for her music, with major BBC radio airplay and several successful tours to her credit. Much more is on the horizon.
On May 31, Selis celebrates the release of her sixth album, “Angels & Eagles,” with a CD release show at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Sherwood Auditorium, kicking off a round of touring which will take Selis and her band to England and Norway.
For Selis, music has been a lifelong passion.
“When I was about 8 or 9 years old, during a family living room concert, I heard my grandmother whisper to my father that I had a good voice,” she recalled. “I believed her and took up piano and guitar (though) I am just barely able to play.”
Selis began performing on local stages as a teenager with a group called Gyros before moving on to a stint fronting cover bands, including Notice to Appear and The Heroes. In the mid-’90s she shifted to playing original music, forming Kings Road, with the band changing its name to hers in 1998. Their debut album, “Out on a Wire,” followed later that same year.
While “Angels & Eagles” continues Selis’ excellent mix of roadhouse rock, country and folk influences, the album had a major shift in its creation.
“This is the first CD that the band has been a part of producing,” Selis said. “Our last two releases were recorded and produced in Nashville with Kim McLean. This time we decided to stay in San Diego to record and invite the band on as producers.”
McLean instead came to San Diego, joining Alan Sanderson as co-producer. Another big change was in the recording’s funding. Eschewing traditional means, she went to her fans, sending out an e-mail asking for donations to help record the album. With each donation level came different perks, culminating in the largest donors getting to record a singing part on the CD.
“It’s an amazing album,” Sanderson said.
Having worked with everyone from Burt Bacharach to The Rolling Stones, he considers “Angels & Eagles” a favorite project.
“Everybody plays great and there was a really good atmosphere at those sessions,” he said. “But what really makes an album is the songs, and this disc is full of music that makes you want to listen.”
The contributions from fans must be considered some sort of karmic return for Selis and her band’s tireless work hosting benefit concerts for numerous causes, including local wildfire victims.
“I have always felt strongly about giving back to our community,” she remarked. “If I had millions to donate to the charities I support, I would. Since I don’t have those kind of resources, giving of my time and music is the next best thing. If it helps to bring awareness to a cause and gets people out to support an event, then I feel like I have done something good.”
Selis, a mother of four, considers finding the right balance of a music career and a family to be crucial to her success.
“Singing and playing music is such a huge part of who I am that it’s woven into the everyday of my life,” she said. “It’s just what mommy does for a living.”
She concedes that touring can be extremely difficult, however.
“I’ve never liked being on the road for too long because I want to be home with my family,” Selis commented. “The other option is bringing (the kids) with me, but that’s very expensive and it’s hard to stay focused on work when they are there.”
Despite the hard work, Selis is thrilled to still be making music after two decades.
“I love singing and performing with my band,” she said. “And as an indie artist, I am in complete control of my career. (But) sometimes I ask myself why I am still doing this. And the answer comes quickly every time: I can’t live without it. “

-Bart Mendoza
May 29, 2008 - La Jolla Village News

"Eve Selis Lights Up the Stage"

It's no secret that music is a hard business. Dominated by huge conglomerates that hold a virtual monopoly on essentials such as production, marketing, and distribution, it is a daunting mountain for the aspiring artist to climb. Those lucky enough to be anointed as the next flavor of the month stand to gain fame and fortune, but often at the cost of creative and personal freedom. They are groomed and tweaked to perfection, then fed into a machine that fulfills every dream and whim so long as they deliver a look and sound that can be marketed to the masses.

Enter the independent artist. These do-it-yourselfers often pay for expenses out of their own pockets, book their own gigs, play to smaller crowds, and generally have to do all the unglamorous behind-the-scenes leg work to get their music out. Many hang on to their day jobs and consider themselves lucky if their musical pursuits end up breaking even. Yet in spite of all this, many find that the career autonomy and artistic freedom far outweigh the obvious advantages of having a label's support. One such "indie" artist is Eve Selis who has become something of an iconic figure in the San Diego music scene. A striking, slender blonde with a powerful voice and commanding stage presence, she has released five albums since 1998 and has a new one called Angels and Eagles, due to hit the streets shortly after this article goes to press. She glowingly reports that it was produced by herself and her band, and that they were able to make an album that isn't "an obvious follow up to the last CD. A label would have nixed some of our songs and ideas."

Following her own beliefs that "hard work always pays off" and "nobody will care about your music or career as much as you," she and her supporters have taken full advantage of Internet technology as well as some very ingenious marketing ideas to get their music to the listening public. "You can't stop a tidal wave. Technology is what it is, and the music industry needs to change its paradigm." Her last album, 2004's Nothing But the Truth was financed by loans from her fan base, all of which were repaid from subsequent sales. Angels and Eagles was funded by donations from fans who were compensated with exclusive rewards based upon the amount of their contribution. Media coverage, networking, and a professional work ethic have resulted in over 2.5 million legal Internet downloads, brisk album sales, a clutch of music awards, and a full touring schedule that frequently takes her across the country and overseas. Concert performances in the UK have garnered her an enthusiastic British fan base and an impressive amount of exposure in their press and over their airwaves. She and her band are currently looking forward to breaking into other countries with a number of dates in Norway coming in the near future.

As for the music? It's an irresistible mix of rock, country, R&B, gospel and pop music, delivered with great skill and sincerity. This latter quality is particularly important, as she makes sure to point out, "You can tell when someone is giving a song lip service. If they don't believe in it, why should I? It's very humbling when somebody comes up and says one of my songs touched their heart. That's the ultimate compliment because you write songs as an outlet for your soul." Often called "the Queen of Roadhouse Rock," Selis' music appeals to fans of artists like Lucinda Williams, Melissa Etheridge, the Eagles, and Steve Earle. She has also been compared to Sheryl Crow, Emmylou Harris, and Bonnie Raitt.

While reluctant to give her music a label, she allows that the term Americana might do. It's descriptive of her sound but it's also an open-ended genre that encompasses a wide range of styles.

Although she now enjoys a respectable amount of success on the strength of her own songs, it hasn't always been that way. Selis recalls the days when she fronted the Heroes, a highly regarded cover band that performs spirited renditions of classic songs. While it was a good gig, she notes that much of her effort was spent mimicking others. Yet as a result, she learned a lot about delivering a vocal performance because "you figure out their techniques and then you start taking chances and risks… you take your influences and make them your own." Because of all the work she put into perfecting her technique, she has become a highly sought-after vocalist for studio sessions, weddings, and corporate events. Her voice can be heard in some enduringly familiar commercial jingles.

In the early '90s she found herself working with guitarist Marc "Twang" Intravaia. Both were doing a DoD (Department of Defense) tour, entertaining troops overseas during Operation Desert Storm. They already knew each other from having played in various bands but had not yet joined forces to write songs. During a sound check, Selis improvised something over one of Intravaia's original guitar licks, and it was then that they realized they were onto something. Before long they wrote their first song together. As she tells it, it was the start of a "great creative relationship that never existed with others I've worked with before." She fronted their band Kings Road before deciding to go solo (but keeping him close at hand). Selis says that Intravaia has always been encouraging and supportive, telling her that she should sing songs "the way you'd sing it." His own musical resume includes playing with such high-profile artists as Kenny Loggins, America, Kim Carnes, and B.J. Thomas, but it is his role as Eve Selis' guitarist and musical partner that gives him his greatest success and satisfaction.

Other members of the band are "Cactus" Jim Soldi, an amazing guitarist who has played with the likes of Ricky Skaggs, Johnny Paycheck, Waylon Jennings, and the legendary Johnny Cash. He has toured the world and has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, the Royal Albert Hall, and the Forum as well as a host of television shows. His wife, Sharon Whyte, holds down keyboard and accordion duties. Among the people Whyte has accompanied include Kim Carnes, Juice Newton, Dan Seals, and Tim Flannery. She has recorded with Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, and was recently a member of the house band in the Primal Twang stage show. Bassist Rick Nash's credits include Comanche Moon, the Steely Damned, and Robert Vaughn. Rounding out the rhythm section is Larry Grano, a relative newcomer to the band, filling the drum throne long occupied by Bob Sales. Grano is a multiple San Diego Music Award winner who is also an instructor in the San Diego branch of the School of Rock. He has opened for and
backed up an impressive lineup of musical legends like Denny Laine, the Everly Brothers, Tom Scott, and Alan Parsons. (See page 8 in this issue for an article about Larry Grano.) As the Eve Selis Band, this group has shared stages with such big name acts as the Doobie Brothers; Crosby, Stills and Nash; Counting Crows; Joan Osborne; and Jewel. Needless to say, Selis holds her musical partners in very high regard and is never more pleased than when they all receive praise as a band. "I'm the one standing out front holding the microphone, so when people go out of their way to say how great they are, I'm very proud."

Live, they put on a highly-charged show in which Selis is clearly the focus. She flashes her megawatt smile and immediately establishes a warm rapport with the audience. At a recent house concert, she and the band demonstrated a loose confidence, connecting with people they knew and making newcomers feel welcome. As experienced performers, they appeared to be as comfortable in front of a crowd as they were with each other. Immediately shifting into high gear without any warmup, it was as though there was a telepathic connection between them. Their highly polished playing contrasted favorably with their casual stage presence. They work together superbly, creating a unified sound that perfectly frames Selis' high octane voice. The soaring vocal harmonies, courtesy of Marc Twang, Cactus Jim, Sharon Whyte, and Larry Grano are the perfect final touch. These guys could write a textbook on ensemble playing, so flawless is their execution. When it's time for a solo, everybody makes room to let the featured performer shine, and it's not just the guitarists who create the fireworks. Bassist Nash and accordionist Whyte each had moments in which they were able to demonstrate their considerable abilities. Perhaps the greatest surprise was the comic relief provided by Grano. In addition to drumming, he is a master of lightning-fast quips and improvised song parodies. His leering re-interpretation of "The Girl From Ipanema" (retitled "The Girl With Emphysema") had Selis, the band, and the audience rolling with laughter. Yet through it all, Selis holds it together with a tremendous presence of mind and a seasoned sense of showmanship that keeps things entertaining, even in the face of distractions or technical difficulties. Expressively punctuating the songs with an impeccable theatrical sensibility, she savors each note and lyric, making sure that the audience does too. As good as their recorded work is, it's their live show that properly showcases the incandescent chemistry among this group of musicians.

While the Eve Selis Band has accomplished a great deal in the world of music, she maintains that "we still have a life. If you're signed to a major label, you're at their beck and call. Someone like Jewel toured continuously for years. To me, family is more important than selling a million CDs." She and her husband Tom (who supports the cause with his skills in graphic art and computers) recently added a son to their family, which also includes their 13-year-old daughter. So it's yet another benefit of doing business independently that they are able to book tours of reasonable length in order to maintain a normal and balanced home life. The rest of the band sidelines with other artists and projects, and they even have their own act called Cactus Twang and Whyte, which frequently takes the stage at many San Diego venues.

Selis professes to a strong belief in angels. "I want to see one, and I believe we have it in us to become like angels through our actions. Wall have the ability to do or say the right thing to make the world a better place." True to her word, she participates in several charity events every year, raising funds and awareness for causes like breast cancer research, cerebral palsy, and relief for San Diego wildfire victims. One of her best friends and biggest fans is Jessica Smith, whas cerebral palsy. Though wheelchair bound, she enthuattends concerts and even convinced Selis to get a "Heart-Shaped Tattoo" with her to honor the song with the same title. Both displayed them proudly at the house concert, though Eve reported with a grimace that hers was still fresh enough to smart! In keeping with thetheme of angels and hearts, Selis and her band are committed to giving back in any way they can. Their song "65 Roses" is available exclusively as a download from iTunes, with all proceeds going toward cystic fibrosis research.

Interestingly enough, she had a brush with a different kind of winged spirit while singing the national anthem at Phoenix's America West Arena. As part of the show, an American bald eagle was released, but before landing on its handler's glove, it briefly lighted on Eve‘s head. Later, a Native American said that she was anointed and blessed by her contact with the sacred bird. One would be hard-pressed to argue with that. Eve Selis is indeed blessed with a powerful voice and anointed with a gift for making music that touches people. She has a true entertainer's spirit and an artist's soul that informs her work onstage and off. Through hard work, ingenuity, and perseverance, she and her band have taken concert stages, airwaves, and Internet servers by storm. With a gleam in her eye, she asserts that, "I want to sing until I'm 80!" Rest assured, people will be listening.

- Mike Alvarez
- San Diego Troubadour

"Angels and Eagles"

From her early days fronting local Top 40 cover bands, San Diego's Eve Selis has matured into one of the top singers on the area's roots music scene playing regularly with folks like Tim Flannery and Berkley Hart.

Her new album, "Angels and Eagles," shows that Selis continues to grow as a musician, to improve as songwriter and singer. Her rough-hewn vocals are a perfect match for her countrified rock songs, and she assembled a stellar lineup of musicians for the sessions.
The opening, title track on the CD is as good a song to come out of San Diego County in, well, ever. Gorgeous melody, soaring harmonies, wonderful lyrics — it's a perfect pop song, like something John Mellencamp, Neil Young or a young Bob Seger might have turned out.

The rest of the disc is similarly solid ---- in the vein of Emmylou Harris, melding country and rock into something uniquely Californian.

— Jim Trageser - North County Times


Eve Selis tracks can be sampled at www.eveselis.com

Out on a Wire - 1998
Long Road Home - 2000
When Wishes Come True - 2002
Do You Know Me - 2002
Nothing But the Truth - 2004
Naked Songs - 2006
Angels and Eagles - 2008



John D'Agostino writing in
Taylor Guitars On Review (Spring 2005) describes Eve as follows:

Eve Selis isn’t just a “singer” — she’s an emotion transducer who converts country, R&B, blues, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll signals into a megawatt zap that galvanizes everyone in its path. And as with fellow femme-furnace frontwomen Bonnie Raitt, Joan Osborne, Maria McKee, Melissa Etheridge, and Lydia Pense, the cauterizing power of Selis’s voice can arc-weld material from almost any genre into a personal manifesto.

I first saw Selis perform several years ago, when she was known mostly to San Diego clubbers. Soon, she was working with highly regarded Nashville songwriter/producer (and long-time Taylor player) Kim Patton-Johnston and Suzy Bogguss's husband, producer Doug Crider. In 2002, Eve released her third acclaimed CD, Do You Know Me, and as the buzz spread, savvy industry-watchers predicted that her next effort would “break” her nationally.

Nothing But the Truth is that “next” CD, and, at the risk of being a jinx, Selis’s dance card should be filled to overflowing from now on. The new album has two rocket boosters that every vocalist requires to achieve escape velocity — great musicians, and a potent potpourri of songs that sound like they burst fully formed from the artist’s bared soul.

It opens with the country-blues-funk of the Patton-Johnson/Anne Reeves-penned “Heart Shaped Tattoo”, then snakes like a wild river through styles and moods — the fibrous hillbilly honk of “The Ballad of Kate Morgan” [with guest vocalist Jim Lauderdale], the Petty/Heartbreakers-esque “Those Words We Said”, the rockin’ bar-lass sass of “Honky Tonk Town” [with guest vocalist Lynn Anderson], the rural-road balladry of “A Beautiful Day”, the 12-string-driven country-pop of “Someday”, and several other cuts worthy of mention.

Any vocalist would covet a launching pad like this band. Marc "Twang" Intravaia (Selis’s songwriting partner) and "Cactus" Jim Soldi (ex-Johnny Cash band) are legitimate first-chair guitarists, each capable of leading a major band. Together, they’re an embarrassment of riches, a stereo six-string storm of intertwining rebel riffs and complementary voicings in the loyal service of energized melodies and steel-beam song constructs.

Add Sharon Whyte's colorative work on keyboards, accordian, and vocals, and the rhythm section of bassist Rick Nash and drummer Larry Grano, and you have the specs-sheet for electrified Americana that’s as good as it gets.

In addition to performing in and around San Diego and fitting in a Summer and Fall tour to Europe, Eve continuously gives her time and talent in support of local and national level charities.