Judith Avers
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Judith Avers

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Band Folk Americana

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"Martin Overheul on Judith Avers latest release, "Mountain and Shore""

Mountain and Shore Review
by Martin Overheul
June 10, 2009
www.altcountryforum.nl

Music is an inexhaustible source of inspiration and irritation, of animation and annoyance, or of passion and deception. And that is just right. Imagine that we would all love the same things and listen to the same records. I imagine that the auditorium of the hell looks like that. For without bad there is no good, right? And without ugliness no beauty. How subjective and disputable that difference might be. I am very glad that next to a lot of good music I also hear a lot of rubbish. Because that way you realize that you hear something very special when you hear a voice that can do melt the coldest hearts and souls. Or a voice able to touch your soul in such a way that you can’t forget it for weeks. Take for example the voice of Judith Avers, a young and remarkable talented singer-songwriter from West Virginia.

The songs on “Mountain and Shore,” her second CD in 4 years (in 2005 her first appearance “Strong Hands” came out) are without exeption breathtaking, musically as well as textually.
It has been some time since I heard a record where the listener gets such intimate looks into the inner life of a human being. “There isn’t one thing or one more bit of love that I could have put into it,” says Judith Avers about her new CD, “It is what I had in me at the time.” And what she had in her at that time was amazing. “Mountain and Shore” opens at high level with the very intimate “Lilac Dreams” which, thanks to the pedal steel of Rose Sinclair (Martha Scanlan, Crooked Jades), gets a wonderful grand sound. Beautiful songs!! But at the same time you think a little worriedly, ‘I hope this turns out well,’ because Avers starts on a high level with this song. But Avers avoids this trap brilliantly for the songs that follow are also fantastic. Be seduced by the banjo solo (again Rose Sinclair) or the magnificent “Rocket Ship” or the loaded with delightful harmonium (Anand Nayak, also producer), “All of It.” “Karen”, one of the textual highlights of this CD, tells about a young woman who is unable to cope with the “hard times” she is going through and jumps into a canyon “and with a crash she said goodnight.” Heartbreaking? Yes. Beautiful? Very beautiful. Judith Avers excels in making these kinds of observations full of compassion and understanding of the human imperfection. Add to this that she wraps her songs in a way that they never get melodramatic but are always like real life. For example in “West Virginia”, another highlight: “I am Vegas, baby. Turn me on. I am New York and I can’t keep up. I have done all I can do; put up a good fight, but I wanna be West-Virginia tonight.” More earthly is not possible.

“Mountain and Shore” ends with the heartbreaking “Love You Right,” the kind of lovesong
everyone hopes will be written for her or him one day. “To love you tonight, I would scream. I would fight, but I would lay all my fear aside if I could love you tonight, I’d love you right.” Let there be no doubt; Judith Avers’ fantastic voice has conquered my heart already. And I am convinced that she will add many more songs to the above mentioned.

Translation courtesy of Louise and Henke Bovenschen - Alt-country forum


"Judith Avers voted Denver's Best Singer/Songwriter"

Judith Avers voted Denver's Best Female Singer/songwriter 2005!

"Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a gorgeous voice that alternately recalls Gillian Welch, Rosie Thomas and Paula Cole, singer/songwriter Judith Avers could literally sing the classified ads and still be positively riveting. Fortunately, that won't be necessary: Avers is equally adept and compelling as a storyteller, crafting heartrending tales steeped in both hopefulness and despair."

-Westword Magazine, Denver's Premier Music Mag - Westword Magazine-Dave Herrera


"Judith Avers album review by Performer Mag"

Many musicians use their music as an emotional outlet — a way to express what's on their minds and a way to gain some sort of peace through their expression. Judith Avers' Strong Hands illustrates songwriting as an outlet. Her album begins with the soft plucking of an acoustic guitar and the first track, "Better Off," leads the album with a tale of loneliness. Her well-established sound can be likened to artists such as Gillian Welch, Rosie Thomas and Gemma Hayes, to name a few. It is no wonder the native Kansan (West Virginia transplant) has developed a name for herself; she has played with the likes of Glen Phillips, The Fray and The Subdues while touring around the nation.

In "Two Little People," Avers sings of a couple that seems to finally get what they want and come to the realization that a big house is no better than what they had when they started out. Her other songs reflect this longing for something more, a sort of fulfillment, and whether Avers' songs are autobiographical or fictional, their impact is the same. The tonality is somber and her imagery presents the listener with an aching feeling that mirrors the subjects of her songs. Avers' voice is haunting and captivating, ranging from a low-toned huskiness to higher, more whisper-like notes.

It seems as though this album represents a certain lost someone, perhaps a friend or lover. Undoubtedly, Strong Hands symbolizes a channel of some sort for Avers, who sings, "I'll get on / I'll get by." The simplicity of her instrumentation is perfectly balanced by the honesty of her lyrics. Horns are sometimes used, and Strong Hands maintains its organic feel due to the album's simplicity. Sometimes simpler really is better, and Avers provides a shining example. (Satire Records) - Performer Mag-Lauren Alexis Begnaud


""one of the best the American Country has to offer""

"Not only because she is likable or very sweet but simply because Mountain and Shore,when you hear it for the first time,
is different from most contemporary female singer/songwriters. I am very charmed by the way Judith Avers is interweaving authentic folk elements in her songs and not withstanding all that gives her elegant sound a modern touch.

A pleasant surprise! Un -American I would say, but it would be better to call it the best the American Country has to offer.

Everybody knows the feeling. You walk into a gallery or an exhibition where various artists show their work. Then you see
always objects that strike you because of their originality,creativity,sharpness or the right color combination. A modest label shows then that these items are sold or reserved for somebody. I am not surprised, because good work always prevails, just as this special work of Judith Avers.

A few years ago
I was very taken by a comparable jewel, the CD Stillhouse Road made by Julie Lee. Judith's album does the same to me this year.

Mountain and Shore was recorded in five days and has the pureness I'm looking for in an artist. In every respect this album is very well taken care of and is truly a product to be proud of. Starting with the cover that sends out a peacefull calmness and ending with the music and the variety of themes. The music is very steady but radiant with the instruments being the base for the record: guitar, mandolin, banjo and violin.I also appreciate the presence of Rose Sinclair,as multi-instrumentalist. The harmonious backing vocals are the perfect finishing touch. Judith's own voice has sometimes a modest continuous vibration,showing the present emotions with dignity. Music to listen closely to and lyrics to read.
Introspective and melancholic work of an artist who is not afraid to share her music with you. Extremely beautiful!!!" Rootsville - by SMP

Translation by Henk Bovenschen
- Rootsville- SMP


Discography

God Bless the Brooders - release date - Fall 2011
Mountain and Shore - released May 2009
Strong Hands - released 2005
Greasefire - released 2003
Jude Live - released 2003
I know Jack - released 2002
The Christmas album - 2000
Another way of Life - 1998

Photos

Bio

Anand Nayak and Judith Avers set up a meeting in person in the fall of 2007. Judith, who has been playing music since the early 90's, had been hunting far and wide for the perfect producer for her next album. They both wanted to feel each other out and see if the music and the people would be a good fit. Judith drove from the southern tip of West Virginia to Easthampton, MA for a one hour coffee meeting with Anand. Coffee turned into recording demos in Anand's livingroom. That evening, over homemade pizza at a friends house, Judith knew she had found the right person for the record. She took those demo's out to her friends car and played them for her friends. There was something there.

The next few months were filled with fundraising, service auctions, prayers and some pleading on Judith's part. With the extensive help of her partner and her community, she raised money to make the record. The community members she had met along the way sold handmade goods, food, artwork, services...anything to make the recording possible. The teenage girls she worked with volunteered and everyone she knew pitched in with love, support and money. She raised about a third of what she knew she needed to make the record she wanted, but she took what she had and headed to MA in early spring 2008.

The actual recording of Judith's latest release, "Mountain and Shore" took place in a little over 5 days. The band members all pitched in before arriving in the studio and held practice sessions so Judith could save some studio costs and everyone arrived ready to go. The basic tracks of the record: vocals, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, and drums were, for the most part, all done live. Anand tried different ways to record with Judith, but found she got the best energy if they could sit together in a kind of circle and just connect to the music all at once, so that's exactly what they did.

Guest appearances by Chris Pureka, Kristen Gass, Katie Sawicki, Polly Fiveash, James Armenti, and Josh Relin happened later in the week after Judith, Anand, Sturgis Cunningham and Rose Sinclair had worked out the bones of the songs.

The energy and love that filled those few days, is joyfully obvious with one listen to the record, Mountain and Shore. It is as pure-hearted and intended as they could have done and Judith's most accomplished work to date.

"Armed with just an acoustic guitar and a gorgeous voice that alternately recalls Gillian Welch, Rosie Thomas and Paula Cole, singer/songwriter Judith Avers could literally sing the classified ads and still be positively riveting. Fortunately, that won't be necessary: Avers is equally adept and compelling as a storyteller, crafting heartrending tales steeped in both hopefulness and despair."

-Westword Magazine, Denver's Premier Music Mag

"It is no wonder the native Kansan (West Virginia transplant) has developed a name for herself" - Performer Mag

"The songs were like grandma's patchwork and by the end, she had sewn together a blanket and wrapped me in it. Soft and melodic folk lullabies folded me into the warmth of spring and left me with creases in time as she sang in one of her songs, "I would wear you if I could." A reflection of my own life as I heard her stories and my own voice begging for me to recall! recall! all that brought me to this moment. Judith Avers- tell me your story."
-Greenbrier Valley Entertainment Guide- Eye on the Arts