Wednesday, November 16, 2011

On The Other Side...

Today I am hosting Jessica Bell on her tour for String Bridge. However, this stop isn’t about her book. It’s about the CD partnered with the book, Melody Hill: On the Other Side.

When Jessica asked me to review her album, I said yes - and then panicked. I knew her music sounded nothing like what resides in my collection. I asked if she was sure a metal head should be the one to review her very un-metal album. I’m sure she went on faith when she said yes. So, employing a little of my own faith, I listened to Melody Hill
                       
And this metal head Ninja was impressed!

As a fellow musician (lame thought I might be) I was impressed by the talent behind this CD. Jessica wrote the music, sings, and plays three different guitars. The result is a solid mix of songs with a vibe similar to Sarah McLachlan and a hint of folk music.

The music drifts you down a winding river, lazy in some parts and rushing in others. The journey is accompanied by soulful vocals that will haunt and echo long after the music ends.

These words in particular spoke to me:

From Famous

So you really want everyone to hear you?
And you want everyone to see you?
But do you really want to be this famous?

(I’m not sure my answer would be yes…)

Somewhere along the way we realize we have been given a glimpse into Jessica’s soul. And it’s a pretty amazing sight.

I had a few questions for Jessica:

This CD accompanies your new book, String Bridge - how?

Well, the songs were written from the perspective of the main character, Melody, a woman who plots a return to the stage, and the person she used to be, before relinquishing her music career for motherhood. I also channeled Melody’s musical influences to write the songs, including PJ Harvey, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, Joni Mitchell, Nightmares on Wax, and Enigma (which are, mind you, my influences as well).

Which song is your favorite and why?

My favorite is the title track, On the Other Side, because in the past, when I actually wanted to be a rock star, I always wanted to write something heavy enough to head-bang to. I think I succeeded.

Will you be performing this album?

Actually, I think I will be. I've been encouraged to get a band together in order to do some gigs here in Athens. I'll let you know more when I know more!

Which is closer to your heart - music or books?

Now I can't answer that because neither one thrives without the other. My bigger ambition is to write books. But the heart is not a place where ambition resides.

She just raised more questions, didn’t she?!



Visit Jessica at her BLOG, WEBSITE, or on TWITTER 

Purchase Melody Hill: On the Other Side at Amazon, Amazon UK, and from ITunes (No really! Buy it if you haven’t already!) 

For more information on her book, String Bridge, visit the official SITE. 

Any questions for Jessica? Have you listened to the CD? I’m not losing metal head points for this am I…?

92 comments:

Civil War Horror (Sean McLachlan) said...

Cool idea to release a CD to go with the book! SF/Horror writer David Lee Summers created a computer game to go with his novel The Pirates of Sufiro. Too bad I have no musical talent and don't know how to program. . .

Pk Hrezo said...

oooo I love that! "The heart is not a place where ambition resides."

I agree, Alex. The album is outstanding. Jess's voice is smooth and clear as a bell ... lol no pun intended. :)
It really is a beautiful album and it makes it even cooler that we know her. :)

Donna Shields said...

Both sound enchanting. I'm going to check them out.

Old Kitty said...

Yes! Yes and Yes! LOL!!So long as there's cake and wine!

Awww but seriously!! Jessica ROCKS and sings amazingly!! Take care
x

Jessica Bell said...

Thanks so much for having me, Alex my man!!! :o) So glad you liked the album! woohoo!!!

Tonja said...

I just saw a review of the book on MPax's blog. Put it on my wish list.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sean, I'm not talented enough to do a CD, but it would be cool to have a game with my books!

Kitty, cake, wine, and Daniel Craig for you.

Jessica, you're welcome and I was impressed!

Marta Szemik said...

What a great way to promote both your music and book in having them together. I listened to one of the songs on another post and it was amazing. Good Luck!

Laura Pauling said...

I love when two different kinds of art can compliment each other but I do see song writing and story writing has somewhat similar. Now singing? That's a different skill for sure!

Natalie Aguirre said...

The album sounds awesome and it's cool that you're thinking of starting a band. It's amazing that you're so talented in writing and music. The combination must really strengthen your writing. Good luck with your book.

Javid S. said...

I have listened some of the songs of this album. I like her voice very much. Thanks for asking how the album is related to the book because I was really curious :)

Melissa Bradley said...

I can't wait to get this CD. The track I've heard is just amazing. You wrote a terrific review and you can never lose metal points. They're permanent like a tattoo.

Rusty Webb said...

Non metal music can have still have lots of angst. Your metal card is still in good standing.

I am totally in love with the high concept for the novel/album release and it makes me think of Coheed & Cambria, who did something similar I believe.

Good luck to Jessica!

Journaling Woman said...

Aww a girl after my own heart. I love my guitar and use to write songs, but haven't in a few years.

Good luck. I can't wait to hear it.

Teresa

Ciara said...

What a great concept to release CD and Book together. I loved this quote from Jessica, "But the heart is not a place where ambition resides"

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Melissa and Rusty, that's good to know!

If you buy the book, you have to get this CD as well.

Laura said...

Lovely idea to have a CD / book combo - she sounds like one talented Lady - I'll be lookinginto this when I get home
Lxxx
PS no metal-head points lost!

Suze said...

Most definitely *not* losing metal head points ...

DL Hammons said...

I've listened to Jessica's CD probably a dozen times since this weekend. She really did a nice job with it.

Excellent review! :)

iZombie said...

thank you for the share, i am on my way to check out the sounds... and the book. you all make it a great day...

Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
Visit The Madness:
IZOMBIE

Morgan Mandel said...

Jessica, I salute you for the great idea of offering music to go with your book. It's great to have talent in both directions.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://www.morganmandel.com

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Laura and Suze, I feel better now!

M.J. Fifield said...

This album sounds like just my kind of thing. Thanks for sharing, Alex.

Matthew MacNish said...

Great review, Alex. Loved your questions for Jess.

Charles Gramlich said...

Even this metal head likes some of that kind of music on occasion!

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm seeing Jessica everywhere in the Blogosphere. She has a lot of support from a lot of people. Good luck to her! And I would like my fifteen minutes but not the continued fame that can ruin people.

Man O' Clay said...

I first watched your book trailer on Chris's blog...looks good. The music is compelling!

Glynis said...

I was lucky enough to win the CD and listen to it often. Jessica has a lot of talent.

Arlee Bird said...

Very good interview, Alex. You were very fair with your review. There's nothing wrong with having eclectic tastes and enjoying a wide range of music. This sounds like the kind of music that I like--drifting down a musical river sounds very enjoyable to me.

Jessica, let me know when you play Los Angeles so I can go hear you live. I guess you'll be signing a movie contract for the book while your here.


Lee
Best selling author Lani Diane Rich visits
Tossing It Out
Wednesday November 16th.

Clarissa Draper said...

I received the album with the book and although it's not my usual music either, I did enjoy it.

Karen Walker said...

Jessica's music is as haunting and beautiful as she is and as I am sure her book is. I am eagerly awaiting its arrival from Amazon.
Karen

Julie Dao said...

Great interview! I haven't had a chance to listen to the music yet but I am so doing that today.

Bossy Betty said...

A great interview, Alex. I am all about the lyrics to songs and this album looks like a good one.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Excellent interview, Alex. And as for the famous thing. It doesn't matter how many people know me. What matters most to me are the kind of friendships I've made along the way. No amount of fame or popularity can ever take the place of those who'll always have my back.

Michael Offutt said...

Jessica is so amazingly talented :)

Helen Ginger said...

Love the idea of releasing a book with a music CD. How cool to listen to the music as you read. 'Course it wouldn't work if I did it 'cause I can't sing a lick.

Laila Knight said...

Way cool! Music and writing go well together. And as a non-metal listener I would love it. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Charles, you'll like it then!

Lee, bet she'd be thrilled to sign a movie deal!

Jeffrey, well said!

Robyn Campbell said...

Jess is ultra talented and ultra beautiful inside and out. Her voice soothes. Particularly if you are drinking wine while listening.

No points lost. :-)

Carol Kilgore said...

Wonderful interview, Alex. Jessica, I'm enjoying getting to know you better.

Mark Noce said...

Sounds rad, I like this kind of music myself:)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm so envious of someone with two awesome creative talents. I hope you find great success, Jessica.

Johanna Garth said...

Great interview Alex!

Jess, Congratulations on what promises to be an amazing album and book!

Jessica Bell said...

Hi everyone!

Firstly, Alex, I am in awe at the amount of comments you are getting on a post that is not even about you. Wow. You've got some devoted followers here!

Civil, I've actually got a friend who's in the process of writing the script for a video game that goes with her novel. It sounds like a really interesting concept.

Pk, Thank you for your kinds words! I'm so glad you like the album :o)

Donna, I hope you like what you see/hear :o) thanks for reading!

Old Kitty, haha, of cOURSE there's wine!

Tonja, thank you!!!

Marta, thank you so much! :o)

Laura, actually they can be similar, but I would also say they are completely different. Confused? I can NOT listen to music when I write because all I end up wanting to do is sing. I think I use different parts of my brain for each skill.

Natalie, Thank you so much. You have been so supportive.

Javid, glad you liked what your heard! Thanks for reading/listening :o)

Melissa, I agree, no metal points lost. In fact, I think he's earned more!

Rusty, I've never heard of Coheed & Cambria, I'll have to look them up. Thanks for reading!

Jessica Bell said...

Journaling, do you write about music on your blog at all? I might have to wizz by and see ... :o)

Ciara, thank you!

Laura, thank you! I hope you do!

Suze, agreed :)

DL,a dozen times? *Blush* Thanks!

iZombie, hope you like what you find!

Morgan, thank you very much!

MJ, glad to hear it!

Matthew, what are you doing online? You should be revising!!!

Charles, and I even like some metal on occasion. Gotta give all sorts of music a chance, right?

Stephen, I agree. I don't think I'd be able to handle that chaotic fame.

Man O'Clay, thanks!

Glynis, hehe, *HUGS*

Arlee, omg, I wish! You'll be the first person I call :) The next will be Stephen. haha

Jessica Bell said...

Clarissa, glad to hear it!

Karen, Mwah!

Julie, I hope you enjoy it! Make sure you have a nice glass of red with it for me :o)

Bossy Betty, thank you!

Jeffrey, exactly. I can't thank the friends I've made online enough. I couldn't have done this blog tour without them.

Michael, haha. Thanks!

Helen, you can't sing a lick? LOL. I've never heard that phrase before! Must be my Australianess...

Laila, I hope you listen one day!

Robyn, Aw thank you sweetie! Def no points lost, I agree.

Carol, thank you!

Mark, if you like this sort of music then you're rad too.

Susan, thank you very much!

Johanna, thanks, I appreciate it!

~Sia McKye~ said...

I tell ya, it was a fight to get here today. Life is having a ball with me today. :-) But I really wanted to stop by and compliment Jessica on the music. It was what grabbed me first on your trailer. I was so busy listening to the song that I missed most of the dialog at first listen. I went back and read and watched the trailer and liked the premise of the book. Then I had to listen to the music a few more times...

Alex, I love rock too, but I'm very eclectic in my music and very much mood driven. But I do see some of the Sarah McLachlan--vibes and the fact she writes song with some pretty hefty emotional impact and I can definitely see Patti Smith (loved Because the Night and she has hints of Janis Joplin).

Wishing you the best with this Jessica!

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love all the writerly support in this community. This is the third blog I've seen this on. Awesome.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I'm captured by the unique, creative idea of a cd-book combo. Off to visit Jessica's blog. Thanks Alex.
xoRobyn

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A wonderful and honest review Alex. It is a good idea to release a cd with a book.
What cd would you choose for your new book ? three guesses who I'd have as I can't sing.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, especially if you're drinking wine to the song in the video.

Jessica, you're welcome! And I'm surprised I get any comments on posts about me.

Sia, I think you'll dig it. And I liked Keel's version of Because the Night. Hope that's all right.

Yvonne, that would be wonderful if Daniel did a song to one of your poems!

Karen Kyle Ericson said...

The song is awesome! It's enchanting, I love it. Great review Alex. Best of luck Jessica this is a hit for sure!

Helena said...

I'm already intimidated by this multi-talented woman. I'll be checking out both book and cd.

Lynda R Young said...

It's fantastic you've found a way to mix your two great passions: music and writing.

Christopher Hudson said...

You appear to have some talented folks in your army, Alex.

E.R. King said...

My sister is a writer and composer. I envy her talent, just as I envy yours, Jessica. I love that you wrote songs to go with your book. Your talent amazes me.

julie fedderson said...

With influences like those, this album looks spectacular. I already know Jessica from her poetry, looking forward to getting to know this other side.

Isis Rushdan said...

Way to go, Jessica. I'm seeing you everywhere.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Helena, you and me both!

Huntress said...

OMGosh! What a sweet voice she has!!
Thanks for this post. Beautiful music is always appreciated.

Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Third blog I've been to that recommends this book and CD. On my list. Thanks for a great review of the music. Also love the idea of the two together. Much talent there.

Copyboy said...

I'll definitely have to give it a listen myself.

Miranda Hardy said...

Love the CD being included. Very original.

Monti said...

Wow! How exciting it would be to have the musical talent to go along with a book. Good luck and happy promoting!

Monti
http://marymontaguesikes.blogspot.com

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Huntress, you will really enjoy her CD!

Monti, you are both a writer and an artist!

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Excellent review. I have a good sense of the music, now. I'm sure I'd like both the book and music. Thanks!

Lydia Kang said...

Jess rocks it. In multiple mediums!

anthony stemke said...

Can appreciate the album thanks to your review Alex.
Have heard a lot of positive buzz re the story. Bell is obviously very talented, I wish her the best.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex- Awesome Review!
Jessica - You are amazingly talented! Wow! I love how music and writing are intertwined for you.

Angela Orlowski-Peart said...

Kudos to Jessica -- musician and writer! What a fantastic combination.

Leovi said...

As described in that record should be very interesting.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I also think it's a great idea to combine your book with a CD! Wishing you all the best Jessica! Thanks for hosting Alex! Julie

Will Burke said...

Great idea to have an interview with the review -- wish I'd thought of that ;) The Other Side is my favorite too. I'm afraid of listening to it while driving: Guarenteed speeding ticket.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Will, I had questions and Jessica had answers!

Christine Danek said...

How great is this. She is amazing. I can't wait to hear it. The book was great.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I won Jessica's CD and finally had a chance to listen to it this week - it's very beautiful.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

Fantastic interview, Alex and Jessica. Alex, I loved how you described Jess's CD to a winding river. So perfect! I have my copy and I love it, especially track #2. :))

Eve.E said...

she sounds fantastically talented, well done on the interview alex. :)
Also thanks again for your comments, as you say sometimes all you need is a short break x

Dafeenah said...

What an awesome idea! I would have never thought to do something like that. Very cool. If only I were that artistically talented. I can barely find time to write blog posts I can't imagine finding the time to write a book AND a CD to go along with it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nicole, that was the best description I could provide.

Leovi said...

I love Jessica's musical influences, Patti Smith, Nick Cave ... excellent!

M Pax said...

Jessica is very talented. I enjoyed the book.

Cindy said...

Interesting interview. I'm always impressed by people who are multi-talented.

Amy said...

I love the idea of having an album with a book! I just purchased the album on amazon, gave it a listen, and loved it! Awesome job - and thank you Alex for sharing her! :)

Nezzy said...

How very cool, a CD and a book. Kinda like dinner and a movie!!!

I do so love her work. 'Just jumped back from her site.

God bless ya and enjoy this wonderful day Man!!!

Thanks for the intro.........

LTM said...

oh, yeah. I've got the album, and it is awesome. My favorite is Love is a b!tch of a wine. Very cool. Jessica's so talented, and her voice is gorgeous. Great interview~ :o) <3

Patricia Stoltey said...

What a clever idea for a writer/musician. Sounds like Jessica is a very talented young lady.

L'Aussie said...

Great to learn more of Jessica.

Denise

Cate Masters said...

Love that, what a cool idea. Congrats on your double release, Jessica.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Amy, knew you'd like it!

LTM, then she did good selecting that as the first video.

Ann Best said...

Jessica is both a great writer and a great musician. I've read String Bridge, and I loved it!
Ann Best, Memoir Author of In the Mirror & Imprisoned

Theresa Milstein said...

Jessica put together a brilliant blog tour. How clever to combine music and writing in her promotion like she did in her tour.

Metal head points lost? To me, you've gain points!