On Saturday, August 8, Flying Cat Music presents the dynamic Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio in Phoenicia at the Empire State Railway Museum located at 70 Lower High Street. The doors open at 7:00 p.m. with the show beginning at 7:30 prompt. Admission is $15 or $13 with RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 845-688-9453.
The magic in the music of Heather Pierson is impervious to genrefication. In one three month span she was lauded in the press as both a neoclassical pianist and as the leader of a jazz quartet, but look up Heather Pierson on Sonic Bids and she’s found under “Solo” “Folk” and “Acoustic.” Lone Star Magazine views Pierson as a veritable double bill, saying, “Heather is like two great acts in one, sliding from sweet acoustic Appalachian old-timey vibe with Patty Griffinesque lyrics to brassy New Orleans blues piano with a bone thrown to Bessie Smith.” Heather’s voice is pure and sometimes even sweet, but it also carries great power. It’s a voice that could mesmerize a dragon or a dove. A review in MainlyPiano.com captures her dynamic range, noting “Pierson’s voice is strong yet vulnerable, conveying tremendous emotional depth and passion”.
It comes as no surprise to find Heather Pierson featured at a piano-oriented website. She’s been in love with that instrument since age six. The Open Road, Heather’s sixth studio recording (she’s released nine to date) is a critically acclaimed collection of fourteen of her evocative instrumental piano works. A subsequent CD, Motherless Child, intermixes superb renditions of jazz and blues standards with some original compositions, while also featuring some of Heather’s ”neoclassical” piano artistry. On the whole Motherless Child sounds far removed from Appalachia, but a more mountain-like feel comes through on recordings that showcase Heather’s Americana ballads. Pierson began penning superb ones starting with her 2010 release Make It Mine, which was mastered by Grammy winner Bob Ludwig.
Heather’s songwriting further blossomed on her seventh CD, The Hard Work of Living, which resulted from her explorations with the acoustic guitar. Already regarded as an extraordinary singer and instrumentalist, Heather Pierson is now winning awards for her songwriting as well. The emotion Pierson channels as a musician finds its ideal outlet in the deeply etched stories she tells, full at once of both beauty and sorrow, at times gentle but other times raw.
Heather’s most recent recording features the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio which Heather formed in 2014. That combo released their first album this May and the title cut is already the number two single on the June Folk DJ Chart (the most recent month tallied). Still She Will Fly has also risen to the number eight spot on their CD chart. It is Heather at her folk roots finest, though embellished again by jazz and blues. It takes unusually talented musicians to keep pace with Heathers eclectic muse and she’s found them in Shawn Nadeau on upright bass and Davy Sturtevant on, as Heather often puts it from stage, “everything else”–guitar, mandolin, dobro, fiddle, and cornet.
In addition to having created an exceptional recording replete with rich vocal harmony and arrangements that well use the wide array of instruments at their command, the Heather Pierson Acoustic Trio is an ideal band for an artist like Heather to hit the road with. It isn’t an ensemble confined to material they’ve previously recorded together, of only one type or period. Nadeau and Sturtevant have the experience and flexibility needed to cross genre lines alongside Pierson, enabling her to draw on the full spectrum of her repertoire in a live performance. That makes for a very special evening.