Fine art

Labor of love

Liz Painter and The Gallery get set to release ‘Perfect Girl’

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In 2016 nearly $4,000 was raised by fans for the completion of Liz Painter`s third album, “Perfect Girl,” and now, it’s ready for release.

The celebration party is planned Friday (Dec. 1), starting at 8 p.m. at the KTAOS Solar Center, 9 State Road 150, north of El Prado. Tickets are $5.

Wearing all black, with a very natural look, grasping her brewed tea in the quaint coffee shop, one could see a little Stevie Nicks in Liz Painter. Growing up in the suburbs of New York, Painter was inspired by Simon and Garfunkel and Broadway tunes. After equipping herself with theatrical aesthetics she found herself as a new single mother surrounded by saguaros in Tuscon, Arizona. She met Chris Burton, her current co-producer and guitarist, and before the two relocated to Taos in 2001, they began a collection of music called The Gallery.

“Taos has been this safe haven of creativity for me, to keep working at this [music] makes this manifest,” said Painter as she discussed the inspiration she`s found in the desert.

After previous albums, “Home Before Dark,” and, “What If … ,” the anticipated upcoming release features nearly 20 years of Painter`s and Burton`s collaborative efforts.

The show at KTAOS will feature a full band, with drummer Mike Caron, bassist Louis Rivali, Don Richmond on harmonica, keyboardist Bob Andrews, and on guitars and vocals, Painter and Burton. Caron is also a second producer.

The Kickstarter crowdfunding efforts attracted an estimated 85 supporters and allowed Liz Painter and the Gallery to put roughly three years towards “Perfect Girl,” making it the most meticulous musical project for Painter. “It’s an interesting way to create an anticipation for the music because now I have people who I feel are on my team,” Painter said. “They helped bring this to life.”

The album was recorded in Taos at Zenith Studio, named after the Zenith Center in Tuscon. “The experience of having our own equipment was such a great way to achieve some breakthroughs with performances on this record,” said Painter with a look of relief with the upcoming release in sight.

The album features various themes built from Painter’s experiences as a single mother, songs that reach out to her daughter, references to the theater, love in the desert, and vulnerability. Rock ballads, Americana and elements drawn from 1960s psychedelia are present in her compositions. According to Burton, the sound is like “the baby of Pink Floyd and Joan Baez.” With vocals similar to Patti Smith and guitar styles like Jefferson Airplane, the 13-track record plumbs the depths of Painter’s musical soul.

“The songs on this album hopefully inspire the listener to contemplate and feel. There’s a wide range of topics, but it requires a little personal insight and contemplation,” Painter said.

The track, “You`re My Boat,” is a serenade to the struggles of motherhood. Painter uses poetic devices to reveal the desire to connect and communcate with her daughter during past years. The song was written after an art therapy session where a therapist encouraged Painter and her daughter to illustrate a bridge with their problems on either side. The lyric, “a bridge I drew with what I had to use, I hope it brings you closer to me,” represents the mother’s nuturing instinct.

The fourth track, “Time Machine,” was inspired by characteristics of Taos and the boundaries of technology. Painter wrote this song as she was struggling to get back in touch with an old friend and when the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was closed for construction. Lyrics such as, “I can’t find you online, this time machine can’t find you online so send me a letter” incorporate the closure of the bridge as blocked passage in metaphor with connections of the past.

“Big Strike,” one of the only tracks co-written by Burton is an anthem of companionship. The track is an ode to Burton`s and Painter`s musical relationship. “You’re the reason for my rhyme, pony up girly girl, I’ll show the world, just to count your kisses like stars in the sky,” displays the support and inspiration the two share.

“Each song is its own art,” Painter said.

Although The Gallery was previously just Painter and Burton`s Arizona project the name stuck for artistic purposes. Painter believes the collection of music is similar to paintings on the wall within an art space. “They’re different but they’re all telling stories and there’s a consistent sound,” she said.

Liz Painter and The Gallery’s local release of “Perfect Girl” at KTAOS this weekend isn’t the only celebration the artist and her band is planning. Painter said she is hoping for a bigger release at some time in the future. Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, watch for special guests Elaine Nelson on saxophone and Harlan Kesson from the Damn Band will be joining the performance on Friday as well.

To explore more from Liz Painter and the Gallery visit lizpainter.com or facebook.com/ANDTHEGALLERY.

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