Boompa recording artist Lullaby Baxter is gearing up for the release of Garden Cities of To-morrow on July 18 in Canada and August 22 in the USA. The much-anticipated follow-up to Capable Egg, their critically-acclaimed debut, marks their first release in six years.
A fascinating hybrid of jazz, pop and folk melded with a heavy dose of cabaret, the songwriting duo of Lullaby Baxter and Lutwidge Sedgwick teamed up with the pop collective known as Hercules (Ben Sumner and Peter Baldwin) for this release. “I took risks that resulted in discovering recesses of talent I didn’t even know I had,” explains vocalist Lullaby Baxter about the new album. “I have matured and become a more sophisticated lady.” Collaborating on this record with Hercules brought their music to another level (the debut was a collaboration with hotshot backing band and Tom Waits’s session players Oranj Symphonette), Lullaby says. “I chose them because they have a very original and distinct style. Their sweeping orchestral arrangements and moving chord progressions made me smitten.”
Musically, Garden Cities of To-morrow can be seen as mature and sophisticated, as well. However the coyness that suffused Capable Egg is still alive and thriving throughout Garden Cities of To-morrow. From the lilting jazzy skip of “What’s Wrong With You”, the meandering violin and brush snare smokiness of “Mr. Golden Happiness” to the reverb-heavy organ of “Jet-Pack” with Lullaby’s plaintive gauzy vocals, this album pulls together enough loungey atmosphere and velvet textures to outfit a large jazz club. The first single and video, “Rattled Little Clam”, shuffles along a samba beat while flutes and woodwinds flit around like bees around a flower patch.
Lullaby and Lutwidge have had a long illustrious career together. “My songwriting partner and I have known each other for 16 years,” she explains, “and have been writing together for nine of those years.” Releasing their debut Capable Egg on Atlantic Records in 2000, Lullaby Baxter became the toast of the town, garnering plaudits from Spin, Q Magazine, The Montreal Mirror, and The Village Voice among many others. Although it may seem that they have taken quite a breather between records, in that time Lullaby has become a mother and wrote a 111-page manifesto called Sing Songs for People while writing and creating material for this album.
And now, with the imminent release of Garden Cities of To-morrow, Lullaby Baxter has even bigger dreams and bigger plans than just releasing an album. “I want to stop waitressing once and for all and for some great act that I admire to hear about me and say, ‘Oh my God, I am going to look so cool when I get her to open for me on my next worldwide tour because I’ll be the first to expose her talents to a wider audience’,” she laughs. “I’d like to open for The Dears, Arcade Fire, k.d. lang, Bright Eyes, Rufus Wainwright, Eleni Mandel, K-OS… I could go on and on.” Something tells me that wish isn’t too far off.
Lullaby Baxter will be kicking off their return to the stage at this years Montreal Jazz Festival on July 7 at Club Soda as well as performing at NxNE 2006 on June 9 at The Drake. A full North American tour will be announced shortly in support of the album’s international release on Vancouver’s Boompa Records.