I've never heard of this being done before. I mean sure, I bet there's been a band biography that was accompanied by some tired old greatest hits compilation album, but I've never heard of a novel, a debut no less, being accompanied by an original album, performed almost entirely by the author, and inspired by the main character. I think that's cool as shit.
Anyway, the album is not actually called String Bridge. I just made that the title of the post so it wouldn't get confusing. The album is called Melody Hill: On the Other Side, by Jessica Bell.
Before I start to talk about it, let me tell you where you can get the album:
It can be purchased on iTunes
Or bought from Amazon.com
I received this album for free, as promotional material intended for advanced review, but that doesn't mean I'm going to blow smoke at you about it. Jessica understands that I only "review" books I love, and I told her I wouldn't do this post if I didn't care for the album. Thankfully, that's not a problem.
I think this album is the perfect companion for this novel. Jessica's voice is at times haunting, at times joyous, and at times devastatingly sorrowful, which is much like life, and much like String Bridge. Jessica sings just as she writes: with brutal honesty, and a fearless desire to face the intricacies of a life full of passionate suffering, as well as graceful bliss, with truth and courage.
I've never been very good at reviewing books, let alone albums, but I did used to own a small independent record label, and from that experience I can tell you that the production on this album is top notch. You might have thought an author recording an album to "promote their book" (not that Jessica did that, she's a natural) would be some kind of hack job with a singer howling into a cheap drum mic, with weak guitar and no other kind of backing tracks, but you'd be wrong. Jessica plays acoustic/rhythm guitar for the entire album, as well as bass guitar for On the Other Side. Lead guitar is performed by George Priniotakis, who also arranged, produced, and mastered every track at Artracks Recording Studios, in Athens, Greece. The sound engineer was Alex Bolpasis, who is a cat who obviously knows something about microphones, and their placement. The vocals, the acoustic guitar, and even the drums, which could theoretically be digital, sound crisp and clear, and yet do not lose the analog warmth that comes from properly micing those kind of instruments.
Jessica truly has the voice of a siren, and this album would be a joy if that's all it was, but it's very nice to see highly professional production to go along with it. I think my favorite song is the fifth track, Famous. Yes, it does have an ill breakbeat that kicks in at the end, and I'm a sucker for beats, whether they be live drums, or from an 808, a 909, or even a 303, but that's not why I love this song. I love Famous, because it speaks to the fundamental questions we all ask ourselves about our lives, regardless of what we do for a living, or who makes up our families. I've been given permission by Jess to reprint the lyrics here, but you've got to get the album to truly have a feeling for the meaning of this track.
so you want to live the life of a star
and you want to be at peace with mankind
really want to be a mother and father
so you want to know the meaning of life
want to be the ripple and wave
really want to know yourself completely
so you want to start your own revolution
and you want to teach your daughter it all
and you really want to fight this depression
do you really want to hold emotions to ransom
do you want to be cruel to be kind
do you really want to lose precious intentions
so you really want everyone to hear you
and you want everyone to see
but do you really want to be this famous?
I could go on about the album, but this post is long enough, and you really ought to just hear it for yourself. Plus, I think I would be remiss without saying something about the book.
Jessica tells us Melody's story with such style and poetry that the prose grabs you equally by the balls and heart, and does not let up as it throttles you, caresses you, and throttles you again. Jessica has a gift for language that is as impressive as it is inspiring.
Let me show you the places where you can find Jessica, and her debut novel from Lucky Press: String Bridge:
Jessica on Facebook.
Jessica on Twitter.
The String Bridge website.
String Bridge on Goodreads.
String Bridge Trailer.
String Bridge Merchandise.
And you can purchase String Bridge as an ebook, at:
Or as a paperback, at:
Barnes & Noble.
For a better, full on review of the book, from a much less hairy, sweaty, manly point of view, please visit the lovely and most slippery of bloggers: Karen Amanda Hooper, at Eternal Moonshine of a Daydreaming Mind.