Singer-songwriter Eleanor Fye seems to have nine musical lives—from cathedral to coffeehouse, recital hall to recording studio, jazz club to jam session—and has found her voice in the balance of all of them. Eleanor’s music reflects a well-traveled soul that has been through the darkness and come out the other side with wisdom, a smile, and a kick in her step, ready for the next big adventure. There is nothing naïve in her optimism, just a down-to-earth radiance that is peaceful and self-assured. Her music both moves you and makes you want to move; you never have to wait long for an invitation to dance.
The thirteen songs from her second studio recording, “Love Stays On,” evoke a variety of emotions and environments, while her smooth and soulful voice fluidly streams through it all. One minute you’re on a grand-piano concert stage, then in a tiny basement jazz club, then on a boat with the wind in your hair, next in a loft boudoir, then joining in a bucket-and-sticks front-porch jam session. Her work invites mentions of a certain British band (a solo trumpet line pays tribute to “Penny Lane”), or the pop/rock chanteuses of the early 70s, while effortlessly incorporating an eclectic array of styles—gypsy jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, zydeco, gospel, and folk.
Eleanor started piano lessons by age 7, and voice lessons at age 14 – and has been performing professionally since her teens. Moonlighting in music for years, she sang professionally for cathedral choirs, movie and videogame soundtracks and trailers (“Ghost Rider,” “Halo3,” “Age of Empires 2”) and professional-level chamber ensembles from Austin (Conspirare) to Seattle (The Tudor Choir). She is one of the rare classically trained singers able to alternate easily between unaffected pillow-talk sultriness, power-ballad strength, and coloratura vocalise while still sounding like the same person. Her piano playing ranges from expansive jazz/rock percussiveness to smart-girl, indie-pop charm.
“Love Stays On” was recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles, with a crew of formidable players including gypsy jazz guitar greats John Jorgenson and Gonzalo Bergara and Nashville A-listers, bassist Michael Rhodes, drummer Marcus Finnie and cellist John Catchings. Jorgenson contributes a variety of beautiful guitar treatments, from the gypsy jazz he’s most recently known for, to fingerstyle and acoustic country-pop on a few tracks, and his signature mandolin on the title track. Bergara brings his native lyricism to the song bearing his hometown’s name, “Buenos Aires,” adding guitar and bandoneon lines that put you right in the milonga with your legs entwined in a tango.
With “Love Stays On,” Eleanor shows that, inscrutable as it may be, love has its way of freeing the will to let joy and inspiration rule. Her music is an adventure played out on the boats and beaches, the back porches and bedrooms of the heart. And long after she’s left the stage, like another good creature with nine lives, she’ll leave you with a smile.