Marion Loguidice – Tales From The Topside World

“This recording was my third time around and it was a charm,” songstress Marion LoGuidice enthuses about her brand new “Tales From The Topside World.” “I loved every minute of making this CD.” One listen to “Tales”, however, reveals that not everything is hunky-dory in LoGuidice’s intimate musical visions of grief, beauty and forgiveness:
“Tales” reflects the dark, light, and sacred parts of myself,” New York’s LoGuidice admits. “It’s a long river from the heart to the head and on this particular voyage, all the not-so beautiful parts of myself that would have been cast into exile were welcomed – and I pulled up a chair for each one of them.”

One need not know the particulars of LoGuidice’s latest travails and triumphs to relate to “Tales”, since we all share the same material existence replete with its impermanence and transcendence. Marion, though, reflects our universal experiences back to us with a lyrical bent and musical inventiveness that is unprecedented.

LoGuidice delivers her incantatory lyrics with both delicacy and power, couched in accessible rock-and-folk-rooted musical beds. And just when her songs seem like they are about to pop she often takes left turns into Grimm-dark musical woods and delivers magic, depth and soul, leaving one filled with hope and gratitude. If that sounds a bit grandiose, think of your favorite songs by the likes of say, Leonard Cohen or Patti Smith – that’s where Marion LoGuidice lives. Well, most of the time…

“My process of writing goes like this: every year around the beginning of October, I start to feel a quickening and I know that I am being called to leave the topside world and enter into this other place where I become wildly creative. It goes on all through the dead of winter and as soon as the bare limbs of the trees become laced with pale lime green – I emerge into the springtime with 10-15 new songs to sing.”

A late bloomer herself, LoGuidice only started writing songs and making music eight years ago at the age of 40 with her self-released 2003 debut “Mother Wheel”, followed by 2008’s “God’s House” (which featured a gut-wrenching duet with fan Cyndi Lauper). Prior to “Mother Wheel” Marion hadn’t ever performed before a live audience; since then she has appeared at the SXSW Music Festival, performed several sold-out performances at Manhattan’s Joe’s Pub and opened larger shows for the likes of Loudon Wainwright III, all the while continuing a slate of countless house concerts in the Big Apple and surrounding areas. Not surprisingly, her stage presence has flourished.

“My songs are like lamps and when I perform, I plug them in,” she, yes, beams. “There’s a certain kind of channeling that I do when I step onstage – I unplug from this world and become completely unmasked.”

There is also an equally earthy quality to her voice that balances her mystic musings. In fact that combination led to her being invited to sing her new song “We Were Flying” in a historic performance for the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 alongside Pete Seeger at a ceremony commemorating the tragedy’s Decennial.

“Marion is the kind of artist that only comes around once every decade or two” comments Jody Denberg, a thirty-year radio veteran who is currently an on-air music programmer at KUT-FM in Austin. “The worldview she relates in her music has changed mine for the better.”

The songs on “Tales From The Topside World” have a unique collaborative evolution. LoGuidice (pronounced “low-jew-dus”) recorded demos with her longtime musical partner Larry Saltzman (The Blue Nile, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel) and then booked a mere two days of bare-bones recording with her band. Additional production was then added by Miami’s Eve Nelson (Eva Cassidy, Buster Poindexter, Chaka Khan) who succinctly embellished the song’s outlines, bringing out the strengths of each piece.

“Each time I am moved to write another song, I feel as if I am leaving the world we live in and entering a sacred place – a place where healing happens,” LoGuidice says. “Most importantly I want people to know that my songs are the by-product of a commitment I made: that I would redirect my heart and mind into something that was life-giving instead of something that was destructive and stay devoted to that path.” The first time you hear “Tales From The Topside World” you will know Marion’s mission has been accomplished.