We down here at TW were sleeping, apparently, on this one. See, the wonderful voice and ukulele of author/songsmith/editor Sylvie Simmons will play Tucson's Owls Club tomorrow night.
Yeah, you may know Simmons from her from her 2012, much-lauded international bio on the big man: I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen, or her work for Mojo magazine, or any number of global magazines —from The Guardian to Rolling Stone, or her can’t-set-down Serge Gainsbourg tome from 2002.
But what really gets under one's skin is her beautifully spare Howe Gelb-helmed (recorded in Tucson) debut album. From 2014, Sylvie is a thing of tender authority, girlish innocence and never-grow-up grown-up wisdom, if that makes any sense. Comparisons to early Marianne Faithful or Jane Birkin, might make sense abstractly, but these bittersweet, heavy-lidded lullabies are soundtracks for the flawed dreamers and broken lovers in all of us. Hurtful and oddly familiar-sounding psychic escapes like "Hard Act of Follow" hang in your head long after the record stops. There’s eerie air in the songs, and that says much about Gelb’s graceful backdrop here behind Simmons' slow-train ukulele, which holds rhythms somewhat neatly in place. It’s a late-night record of bruised regrets ("Too many miles on my heart") and hazy memories. Seek the record out if you haven’t already.
Simmons writes of her Tucson one-off on her Facebook page: "I'll be playing a gig in Tucson, Arizona, all by myself at the Owl's Club. You wouldn't want to leave me there on my own now, would you? And it's free. So please come and keep me company, or if you've friends in Tucson send them along. I go on at 8:30 I believe. 236 South Scott Avenue. 9th March 8.30, Free!
(*Note/disclaimer: this writer and Simmons each had a story in a Fleetwood Mac (!) tome Fleetwood Mac on Fleetwood Mac: Interviews and Encounters, which came out summer ’16.)