Thursday, February 12, 2009

1989: The Proving Ground

Wendy Wall: The Proving Ground

[out of print, but purchase used copies here]

This is a story, in part, about memory.

In 1989, I read something about Wendy Wall. I can’t remember what it was, but it may have been a review of a performance, or of her album. Or it may have been a blurb about new artists in Musician magazine. I can’t even tell what it was that struck me about it. I only know that my brain stored the name in the “musicians to check out” folder.

At least a few years later, I came across Wendy Wall’s album in a bargain bin, on CD. The price was right, so I bought it on spec. And when my wife and I got to listening to it, we discovered a new favorite artist. She had a distinctive voice, her songs had a good beat and a nice blend of acoustic and electric instruments in uncluttered arrangements and her lyrics were interesting.

Years went by, and I hoped to hear more about her, but I never did. She seemingly vanished off the face of the earth. I assumed it was the old story of an unknown artist who records one album on a major label, and then gets dropped into oblivion.

Then, this week’s theme was announced. I was thinking that the Wikipedia list gave me all the material I would need. But, just for fun, I started looking through my albums to see what else might have been released in 1989. And there was Wendy Wall. So, I wanted to see if I could find out more about her. I did not expect to find anything. But, there was her website. And there she tells her story. Was it the old story, as I had assumed? Yes. But now the old story had a human face and a richness of detail. And I found exciting news. Wendy Wall has a new album coming out in the spring. I know I’m going to be checking that out. and I’ll try to let everyone know what I find.

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