Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Producer, Personal Trainer
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It takes a brave approach to be both cutting edge and patient in the music business, and Elizabeth Butler has both qualities in spades. After the critically acclaimed release of “Love & Loss & Stuff Like That,” her 2014 full length album, Butler is now taking a different approach to releasing new music. “Lullaby,” released July 22, 2016, will be the first single in a series of releases over the next year. “I want to stay more visible with projects coming out more regularly instead of the typical several year album cycle,” she explains. “Lullaby” marks the first release of an unbundled album project, a series of singles she is writing and recording one at a time.
“Lullaby” was written with Butler’s own children in mind, even though they are grown and living their own lives. She was inspired by thinking back to the days of late night floor-pacing with fussy babies. She started singing to them to try and calm them down, and in those moments she couldn’t avoid “the things you think about in the middle night with a fretful baby in your arms...what will they be when they grow up? What kind of people will they be? But I learned to enjoy the moment, to sing to them so they know someone is there.”
“Raising children to be strong, independent, moral and kind adults is the most important legacy I have,” Butler says. “We can have so many jobs and goals in life - to be Grammy winners, Nobel laureates, anything...but we are the only parents our kids will ever have. That’s important.”
Butler also shines at leveraging the advantages of technology to record while keeping her projects very personal and organic. She hand-picked her favorite musicians to perform on Lullaby, and time, space, and distance weren’t hindrances. All told, Lullaby was recorded in Nashville, Austin, Seattle, and Houston. Jordan Buetow (from the band Erwilian) played dulcimer in Seattle, Kira Small recorded backing vocals in Nashville, Jana Pochop laid down acoustic guitar in Austin, Solveig Whittle sang harmonies from Seattle, and Torri Baker sang her harmonies from Austin. The track was produced by Butler and Troy Warren in Houston.
Butler released her first solo album, Love & Loss & Stuff Like That, in early 2014. She describes the album as a scrapbook concept, as if the listener is taking pieces of an artist's journal and absorbing a life story in frames and vignettes. Part of the draw of the recording process for Butler harkens back to those days in her bedroom as a teenager, enveloped in liner notes and absorbing songs through endless listens on the stereo. Butler describes her style as a “cool gumbo of sound,” and the listener can easily pick out country, pop, jazz, and blues influences amidst an undeniably unique sound that is steeped in years of practice and stacks of vinyl. She co-produced Love and Loss and Stuff Like That with Troy Warren, Jr., a multi-instrumentalist who back-and-forths with Butler on everything from instrumentation to arrangement.
Butler plans to release songs periodically throughout the next year, culling inspiration from an array of styles and genres. The spellbound kid sitting in front of the stereo is now at the helm of her own music-making, and the results are bound to be as deep and dynamic as her roots.
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