I became aware of Eva, a singer songwriter from Western MA for the first time when I caught her performance at the 3rd annual Riverside Blues and Barbecue Fest earlier this October in Greenfield. That performance led me to check out her latest CD.
There are four things that I particularly like about this release.
As I repeatedly state, if you are a songwriter with a message to impart to your listeners, diction is essential. Eva sings with near perfect diction and rarely do I have to strain to catch any word.
Eva writes songs that not only reflect her life experiences in both physical and inner reality, but she frames the story in a way that provides each of us a personal connection to that experience. There is no unattached emotion expressed, every bit of it securely anchored to a recognizable image or simile. Witness this verse from “Timber”.
Timber I'm falling could you be falling too Timber I'm falling So in love with you
Such a simple image yet imbued with hope, lack of control, risk of disaster, all easily recognizable to anyone who has given themselves up to impending love.
Throughout the recording, from the title song “Don’t Send Me Flowers” up to but excluding the final cut, “Finally Over You”, Eva gives us vignettes so familiar to musings and experiences similar to ones in our own lives that we easily associate. Doing so tempts us to sing along, and her lyrics are eminently sing-able, as are her melodies, further adding to our connection with the material.
I excluded the last cut which while interesting as an experiment in mood and presentation does not feel, to me, finished.
The last and by no means least thing I particularly like about this release are the arrangements by Joe Carvahlo. They provide a subtle and intricate setting for Eva’s voice reinforcing the delivery without ever obscuring it. It is rare that I find the backup to a vocalist interesting enough to warrant the opinion that it is worth listening to just for itself, but in this case I am comfortable with that claim.
Eva’s blues chops are decidedly in the country and honky-tonk arena. Her presentation reflects wisdom from experience and an amusement with her enduring and surmounting said experience.
We just won the Ladylake 2013 award Just as this space called out for submissions for the annual LiveWire Awards, word comes in that local band Eva Cappelli has been feted with another prestigious honor.
The band, which features vocalist Eva Cappelli, was recently honored with a Lady Lake Indie Music Award.
“This was all very unexpected,” said Cappelli. “I got a message saying we were being considered for this then another message saying we were one of the winners.”
According to Cappelli, Lady Lake Music is an international indie music promotions company. It was formed in 2006 as a company ran entirely by women who love music. The company is headed by Cindy D'Adamo, a former artist manager, A&R scout, indie DJ and music devotee.
Cappelli had originally sent in some recordings in hopes of garnering interest for radio play.
“They chose ‘The Forecast’ from the CD ‘Bits and Bobs’ to promote and gave us the award in the Eclectic category,” she said. “That gave me a great deal of satisfaction as I don't like being categorized in any one genre as a songwriter. I find it very limiting.”
The recognition has come at the right time for the group as they plan to capitalize on what has been a productive 2013.
“We now have a promoter and booking agent who is already working on moving us out of the area and keeping us busy,” said Cappelli. “We are looking forward to a busy New Year and a new, 14 song CD release in 2014. We have lots of new music and videos. We are certainly not slowing down or disappearing anytime soon.”
The summer of 2013 for Eva Cappelli was spectacular.The last few years were not so kind to our singer-songstress between a bad divorce, horrible soul-sucking jobs and bosses, court battles that went way to far to prove that our court systems are badly broken. Ultimately, Eva has rebounded once again like the (cool terminator) she is, with a fierce fire in her soul that has taken her music to yet another level. Just when you thought it couldn't get any better!
She has had the summer of her dreams, starting with playing the Montauk Music Festival in Montauk N.Y. with the infamous Tali Icepack Jackson on drums. Tali has played with all the greats. Then her summer gig schedule exploded with festivals and club dates all over. Eva has been playing up and down the Valley steadily all summer and it doesn't seem to be over yet. Some of the latest and greatest news on the Watershops Front:
Eva has had a very busy summer and it's not over. Her new CD should be coming out in late fall. Before the holidays, hopefully! She and Joe Carvalho have been hard at work on this one. Eva has revisited some of her older material that her fans love and they’ve been waiting patiently for. This new album is sure to be the very best she and Joe have done together.
ANOTHER OPEN MIC?? Yes that's right. Eva Cappelli is now running the Open Mic at Opa Opa Steakhouse and Brewery 169 College Highway, Southampton MA and it has been going like gangbusters! Everyone is coming out for this one. Eva currently runs the long-standing and very successful Open Mic at Sam's Cafe 235 Main St. Northampton, MA everyFridaynight.
Earlier this year, she started a very unusual un-plugged Open Mic through
University's Downtown Art Gallery 105 Elm
Westfield, MA . She combines a beautiful blending of the spoken word, poetry, storytelling and singer-songwriter styling inside a most visually stimulating atmosphere. In this quaint and beautiful little art gallery, sitting in a circle inside the window, where the natural acoustics are beautifully balanced. Some call this Open MicEva's Music Therapy Class. The public is welcome to join in too.
Eva ran a radio show called theToast and Jam Cafe with Eva Cappellion Valley Free Radio WXOJ 103.3 FM, or on line at http://www.valleyfreeradio.org/everyFriday from to . You would find her interviewing some of the Valley's best musicians and having them play live right in the studio. Eva has always been a big supporter of helping other artists find their way through the musical jungle and this is just another platform for her to be able to continue to offer her help.
The next thing I knew we were notified that we had won the first round and would be playing the Hard Rock Cafe at Foxwoods. Now here we are going head to head with very young Metal and Punk bands with kids in their 20's maybe 30's. There is a ton of age discrimination in this country and especially in the commercial music industry. Both of my sons are young musicians and they and their friends are all very supportive of my music, I am feeling rather proud that perhaps I have broken some of their rules and given life back to some that didn't think there was any left after 40. I realized I had already won when I gave myself permission to do what I should be doing and what I was meant to do. That is the cool stuff that life is really made of and my greatest achievement. I will be playing Foxwoods Hard Rock Cafe on March 13th 2013. "
Admittedly a late bloomer at 59, Cappelli’s star has risen on the local music scene in the past few years with her mellifluous voice, easy charm and devoted fans whose demographics don’t fit neatly into any A & R person’s marketing plan. After decades of deferring her musical ambitions to raise children, suffer through disastrous marriages, and toil in soul-sucking jobs, she’s rebounded like a cool Terminator mom that all the neighborhood kids wish was theirs. Late last year she released her third CD, Bits and Bobs, a hodge-podge of all the musical genres that have informed her journey as a singer and musician. She’s everywhere on a given day, hosting open mics or headlining gigs in tiny joints throughout the Valley. Her knowledge of musical idioms is solid as evidenced in her records — competent and confident jaunts through country, blues, and folk, mix it up with detours into jazz, world, Latin and even prog rock.
Cappelli took some time out recently to reflect on her life, personal lows, new found success, and what the future looks like for her in 2012.
Examiner: You’re a late bloomer in terms of where you’re at currently. Has singing and playing music always been a part of your life?
EC: Both my parents were both musically inclined. They divorced when I was ten, so I grew up fast. I remember being very young and always singing and having songs in my head. Dancing and singing was a type of therapy for me. My mother was a dancer and an actress. She sang beautifully and exposed me to Broadway music. When I was young I sang in chorus and excelled in band and art class, but wasn’t really interested in anything else. Music was the only thing that really made me happy.
Examiner: What were your earliest musical memories?
EC: Listening to records — Elvis, Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, and Motown. I went to concerts; saw Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company and Jimi Hendrix before anyone knew who he was. I went to Woodstock; and got involved in anti-war protests and sang a lot about it.
Examiner: Did you perform or have musical experiences in your youth?
EC: I married at 18 and had a child when I was 21. I played in several bands back then. Even after my son Rob was born, I would bring him with me to band practice. He was exposed to music right from the beginning. My husband was also a musician and played with me in a band called Little Eva and the Studebakers. Both of us were visual artists and we struggled to make a living. After five years of marriage we divorced. I remarried shortly after and had another son, Josh. The marriage was violent and disastrous . . . as well as being a very difficult time for me. I ended up playing and writing music by myself.
Examiner: Did you have any musical aspirations during that difficult period in your life?
EC: Music has always been a part of my life. It’s been like air to me. I never grew out of it or found a way to survive without it. It’s in my head constantly and when I dream it’s there as well. I never really had aspirations up until now; I was too busy just trying to survive.
Examiner: In some of the press that I’ve read about you, there’s mention of personal tragedy that you’ve had to overcome. Can you elaborate on that? How does it fit into the greater narrative of your music?
EC: There’s been a lot of violence and abuse in my life, starting in my childhood and continuing throughout my adult life. I was married for a third time to an extremely abusive and controlling man for 20 years. I lived a hidden life of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I was completely humiliated and embarrassed to have put myself in that position — and paralyzed to do anything about it. It's not easy for me to talk about. I blocked out my memories of those years. When I turned 50, I made a promise to myself that I would find a way to take back my life — and my music. Near the end of that marriage I started to play music again after years of being silenced. My ex-husband said to me, "Why don't you put that guitar down and grow up?" So instead, I put him down and grew up! I finally found a way to exorcise my demons by writing about them.
Examiner: You’re audience seems to have special connection to your music. What do you attribute this?
EC: There's nothing like playing music in front of an audience. I never knew there were so many men and women (and even kids) out there who shared similar feelings and experiences. I thought I was alone in this world with these feelings until people started coming up to me telling me how my songs touched them.
When I'm singing to an audience I can feel their energy and I feel connected to the world. I guess it's the stories in the songs and the fact that they're real. Even the ones that come from my dreams are somehow real and alive.
My songwriting partner, Joe Carvalho, always says if men really listened to my lyrics, they would have a better clue as to what women want — and don’t want in their lives.
Examiner: The blues, country, swing and rock ‘n’ roll are the predominant flavors of your music —do you have any boundaries?
EC: On our most recent record, Bits and Bobs, we gave our fans 15 songs which tapped into a bunch of musical styles. There are three country-flavored tunes, “Fields of Hay,” “The Forecast,” and “That's What You Do.” We were fortunate to have our friend, Tom Wolverton (former pedal steel guitarist for San Diego-based Three Chord Justice) add some country feel to those tracks. There are also some Latin, Worldbeat and prog rock influences. Joe and I wrote the song “Can’t” as homage to King Crimson. The song “Bottom Line,” while referencing our current economic crisis is indebted musically to Jefferson Airplane’s sound. We love all sorts of musical styles and experiment with them all. Joe and I also play in a 10-piece orchestra, East of the Sky (best described as “intergalactic rock”) where there are no boundaries.
Examiner: Do you feel an affinity to a particular sound or artist?
EC: I'm not sure . . . I’ve found that the blues come to me very easily, but honestly I feel that I’m here as a host to give this world music in general. I don't know why, but I know it's so. Songs just come to me . . . they could be anything. I love it all as long as it's honest and real, and has good, solid music and lyrics that make you feel. My son Josh is one of my favorite writers — and not just because I'm his mom.
Examiner: What’s your musical partnership with Joe Carvalho and the band like?
EC: Joe and I started working together in 2008 after I met him at an open mic in Westfield. His friend Tom Sawyer who ran the open mic at Tommy D's told him about me, so Joe came down and sat in with me one night — we've been cranking out music ever since. He’s been the biggest inspiration in my life and
I’m very grateful to him for everything.
Joe’s also the band manager; he plays lead guitar (and other instruments) and does all of our musical arraignments as well as co-writing songs with me. Larry Dulong is our keyboard, guitar and accordion player; he’s also a songwriter and has been with us since the beginning.
We recorded our first two records, Are You Out There (2008) and Valentine (2009) at Shoe Strings Studio, in Belchertown. In 2010 we put our own studio together (Watershops Studio in Springfield) and released our CD, Bits and Bobs last year.
Examiner: Your sons, Robert Ives and Josh Boyle are fairly intriguing characters in their own rights— have you collaborated with them?
EC: Rob's band, Problem With Dragons is doing well. He lives with me and practices here, so I am very much in touch with what he's doing. On occasion we hang out and he'll play my acoustic guitar.
Josh is a little more like me. His writing is similar to mine and we do play and sing together at times. He’s got an ongoing project in our Watershops Studio. We are all very close.
WEST SPRINGFIELD - A local band that has cut a video that honors farming and laments its reduction will perform at the New England Grange Building at the Eastern States Exposition on Saturday. Eva Cappelli & The Watershops Band is scheduled to play outside the hall on the Big E’s Avenue of States from noon to 4:30 p.m. Cappelli, 58, of Easthampton, said she was inspired to write “Fields of Hay” after hearing a friend mourn the dwindling and aging membership at the grange hall in Enfield, Conn. “They’re not getting any new members. . . . That’s a lot of history,” Cappelli said on Tuesday. “This is what’s happening across our land. It’s just a disappearing part of our world, you know, as I see it,” she said. Lead guitarist Joseph Carvalho III, retired former president of the Springfield Museums Association, said he was impressed with how Cappelli ensured that the multiple images in the video were in sync with the lyrics as she sang them. It took a day to record the 3:31-long video at Watershops Studio, in Springfield, with an eye toward having it ready for the Big E, which prides itself on its agricultural offerings. “It’s quite an honor,” Carvalho said, as the band gathered at the Big E on Wednesday.
By KEITH J. O'CONNOR
Like mother, like sons.
They're a family of musicians, and on Saturday night at The Elevens in Northampton, Eva Cappelli will perform onstage alongside her son, Josh Boyle. Boyle's band called Robert American's Little Brother, whose title is a story of its own, will be out of town, so he'll be sitting in with his mother's band, Eva Cappelli and the Watershops Band.Cappelli's other son Robert Ives, whose stage name is Robert American, was also scheduled to play at The Elevens with his family, but had to back out after losing his band's drummer."I may never be rich and famous, and I'm no 'American Idol'," said Cappelli, 57, "but I'm being myself." Cappelli picked up her first guitar at age 14."My sisters all got piano and guitar lessons. They didn't want the lessons, I did, but by the time I came along there was nothing left for me," Cappelli said."So I stole my sister's guitar when she was at beauty school and learned to play on my own," she added.After playing in different rock and roll bands when she was younger, Cappelli eventually found herself married with kids, "busy raising them and trying to survive," she said.Now divorced, Cappelli said she never stopped writing."I go to bed with music in my head and I wake up in the morning with music in my head ... I'm writing constantly," Cappelli said."The writing helped me get through it all. Two really good friends came over to the house and heard the songs and made me perform them for an audience. And when I got feedback from them, I learned some were experiencing the same things and that I wasn't the only one going through this.....that the rest of the planet has the same problems, issues, feelings and emotions, and they thanked me for sharing my songs," Cappelli said.The next step in getting back into her music came when Cappelli was at an open mic night last July.She met Joseph Carvalho III, president and executive director of the Springfield Museums Association, who plays guitar in a group that includes bassist Steve Robillard, keyboardist Larry Dulong, drummer Jim Cote and fiddler Sam Barnes.Someone told him to come down and see me and he came down and listened and told me I was what he'd been looking for ... and it was the best day of my life," said Cappelli about becoming a member of a band again.The group plays folk, country, blues, jazz, punk and funk."I don't like to be locked into one genre, I write everything and our new drummer likes funk so I've been concentrating on writing some funk," Cappelli said.Looking back over the year, the musician said when it came time to introduce her sons to music, she gave her older son, Robert Ives, piano lessons."He hated them, but I wanted him to learn music the right way since I didn't have that opportunity....and today he's an incredible musician who plays guitar, bass and drums," Cappelli said.As for Boyle, he started his foray into music by writing."Josh is a fabulous lyricist and his stories are almost epic-like when you listen to them. He's also a fantastic drummer and plays guitar....he picked it up the same way I did," Cappelli said.But while Boyle, 30, has his mother to thank for some of his talent, he's quick to credit his brother, too."I guess I got most of my influence by listening to my big brother, Robert, who I thought was cool, and that's where I got the name Robert American's Little Brother for my band," Boyle said about his 36-year-old bigger brother."But I did like listening to my mom's old records like Tom Waits, and when I was a kid I helped her to deejay at weddings," he added.Boyle's first band was called Gridlock. "It was an old hardcore band. A lot of what I play today is doo-wop music with a harder edge to it ... and there's some fire and brimstone preachy stuff," he said. Cappelli said she expects to take the stage at 9 p.m. and be joined later by her son."Josh comes over to the house a lot and he brings his new songs and we run through them and do harmonies together, and I run my songs by him, and its kind of nice," Cappelli said. "It's a nice time in my life to have a son to write and play with, it's just like the icing on the cake for me, there's nothing better in life." Event: Eva Cappelli and the Watershops Band When: Today, 8 p.m. Where: The Elevens, Northampton Cost: $5 For more info: Call (413) 586-9155 or online www.elevensmusic.com
LiveWire Awards: 2009's Best Local Discs Eva Cappelli and The Watershops Band – “Valentine” - Cappelli turned a few trips to open mic nights into a burgeoning career as the leader of a pretty cool band. “Valentine” is a 10-song disc about love, unrequited and otherwise, that showcases not only her writing and singing talents, but also the talents of her assembled group of musicians known as The Watershops Band. The title track is the real highlight, a stirring torch song that anchors the disc. Find them at evacappelli.com
RI. More to come on that front!
Watch out for Eva Cappelli. She's moving on up!!!!!