Patti Witten and Robert Burke Warren
Patti Witten is a hidden local talent who was one-third of the 70s and early 80s folk trio Lorelei. She also sang backup and played alto flute in the mythic-Ithaca 80s R&B band Moxie, with a roster of local musicians: the late Eric Seidler, singers Dee Specker, Dawn Gray, Shauna Guidici, Don Karr and Jeannie Burns, bassist Harry Aceto, conga player Ginny Sadkin, drummers Al Hartland and Bill King, and guitarists Eric Aceto and Mike Vitucci. A couple of years ago Witten reappeared on the music scene after a decade's absence, this time as a soloist performing her own songs at coffeehouse gigs, showcases and festivals across New York state and beyond. She has shared stages with local musicians like Jody Kessler, Annie Burns and Miché Fambro, and regional favorites Rosanne Raneri, Valerie DeLaCruz and Nancy Falkow.
Her independent CD "Land Of Souvenirs" spins vivid stories of love, loss and redemption in a timely blend of pop americana, new/folk and roots/rock. It has made quite an impact, too: eight songs from this powerful and emotional debut have won or placed in four international songwriting competitions in categories from folk to adult contemporary, from pop to modern-rock. Often compared to Joni Mitchell's, Patti's light, nuanced voice and acoustic guitar underline each track. Producer and multi-instrumentalist Rich DePaolo plays bass, guitars, tiple, harmonium and alto mandolin. Bill King is on drums and Jennie Stearns and the Burns Sisters make guest appearances on vocal harmonies. "Her voice touches down like an angel on your shoulder," says Songwriter's Monthly. "Land Of Souvenirs" won a Jimmie award from the Ithaca Journal in 1999.
Recently, Patti was the featured artist among the "Top Twelve Independent Women Songwriters" listed in Independent Songwriter Web Magazine, which said, "This album is a true songwriting gold, delving into physical, emotional and spiritual elements that many indie artists seldom see or dare to reveal."Patti attended another songwriting workshop in June with Rosanne Cash and she is writing an article about it for Songwriter's Monthly. Tracks from "Land Of Souvenirs" appear on compilation discs from Step Magazine and Music Reviews Quarterly.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, the year the Beatles' "Rubber Soul" came out, Robert Burke Warren and his roots-pop-folkadelic derive from a rich life experience. He began picking up stringed instruments in the early 80s soon becoming the underage bassist for a fledgling RuPaul. After relocating to New York City, he did a two-year international stint as bassman in the Fleshtones. In the mid 90s, taking a detour into rock and roll theater, he strapped on a Stratocaster and portrayed Buddy Holly onstage in London's West End. Upon returning to Manhattan he shouldered his acoustic guitar and hit the clubs. With an ever-growing list of strong tunes, he soon acquired a solid reputation as an entertaining live act -- both as a solo artist and with his cracking ensemble Turpentine. Robert also cites being accepted into a series of songwriting workshops led by Rosanne Cash as pivotal points in a steadily evolving life of song.
Warren wrote and produced the twelve songs of his debut CD "...to this day." Some of the cuts are fashioned from yarns handed down among generations of his Deep South family ("Josephus Cries," "Milledgeville," "Radio Church"). But a distinctly concrete-jungle vibe seeps into the mix, adding a contemporary edge to the production: a hissing drum machine, a swirling loop of mysterious samples, a cast iron skillet. "Sharply drawn, briskly melodic," says Billboard. The Village Voice says, "This urban troubadour has a sweet twang and a hipster's eye."
Patti Witten and Robert Burke Warren will perform a double bill at Juna's Cafe, 146 the Commons, Ithaca, at 8pm on Saturday, July 8 ($3 cover). CDs will be for sale at the gig. Witten's CD is also available locally at Ithaca Guitar Works, Handwork, Hickey's, Logos, and Sounds Fine. On the web, visit pattiwitten.com, Amazon or CDNow. Robert Burke Warren's CD "...to this day" can be purchased at robertbwarren.com, and both artist's CDs are available at indie music distributor CDBaby.com.
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