Lisa Redford on her new album cover
Redford's New York record
By Zoe Applegate
A Norwich singer-songwriter has just released an album, recorded in New York with Martha Wainwright's producer husband at the joint controls. Lisa Redford worked with Brad Albetta on several songs for her third record, Clouds With Silver.
The frenetic pace of life buzzing in and around New York's iconic sky-scrappers and a wealth of talented and creative musicians have lured a Norwich singer-songwriter to record most of her third album in the Big Apple.
Lisa Redford headed to New York in April to work with respected producer Brad Albetta - the musician husband of Martha Wainwright.
The result is her third studio album, Clouds With Silver, which was released on Monday, 28 July, 2008.
Lisa enjoyed New York's energy
The delicately-voiced singer laid down seven of the record's 11 tracks in Brad's Brooklyn studio after first contacting him online after admiring his production work on Martha Wainwright's and Teddy Thompson's albums.
Brad - who also plays in his wife's band - fitted in the recording just before heading off on a world tour, and with time limited Lisa recorded all seven songs in just four sessions.
The trip was a welcome return across the pond for Lisa, who's previously played a string of gigs around the city.
On this occasion working in the US meant she could recruit some first-class musicians to appear on her album.
She said: "I've got two really upbeat band tracks with some fantastic musicians on them - people who have worked with some people who I really admire.
"That's the buzz for me - people like Rufus Wainwright, Jeff Buckley, Norah Jones - quality, respected artists and it's been a really fun experience."
Lisa, who counts BBC Radio 2 presenter Bob Harris among her fans, was keen to vary the sound on Clouds With Silver - which she co-produced with Brad.
She also sent off a couple of songs to Nashville producer David Henry, who added a rich flourish of strings.
"He was somebody who I really wanted to work with as well because he'd produced people like Josh Rouse, and worked with REM, Steve Earl, Alison Krauss and a few more Americana artists," she said.
As an unsigned artist, Lisa says she values the freedom she has, meaning she can work with people and in places she finds inspiring to take her music in a new direction.
"When I set out to do the album you're always looking to progress to the next thing and just work with people you admire," said Lisa.
"The thing for me - with me being independent - is working with people I admire and new experiences."
Although being in New York wasn't totally uncharted territory for Lisa, she appreciated the excitement that the place - famously dubbed 'the city that never sleeps' - had to offer while recording Clouds With Silver - the follow-up to 2005's Lost Again and Slipstream, released in 2003.
She said: "I've been there a few times and it's being somewhere where you feel comfortable but you feel an energy and a buzz.
Lisa recorded some tracks in Hethersett
"It wasn't like going out and not knowing anyone, I've made a good grounding there; made a good few creative friendships."
Close to home
Being at ease with herself to benefit the music was a key element of the recording process, with Lisa heading to familiar surroundings for the rest of the album.
She returned to Hethersett's Flying Pig studios to lay down four songs, having used it for her debut record.
While collaborating with a producer and musicians was important for Lisa, she was keen for the album to boast an acoustic, live feel to retain the signature sound of her earlier recordings.
"The majority of it is just me and my guitar," she said. "In a way it's like a combination of my two previous albums - the first one was very, very acoustic; the second one had more instrumentation and had an Americana sound very much.
"All my songs are very heartfelt and come from an honest place so it's got that, and I'm very proud of some of the lyrics and the melodies.
"It's simple but it's got some really nice arrangements with the strings coming in and adding sonic dimensions but nothing too elaborate that's going to overtake the feeling and the lyrics.
"It's just a bit more thought out in terms of the acoustic arrangements. It's progressed because I feel it's more mature and I'm really proud of the songs," she added.
For the recording and release of Lost Again, Lisa based herself in Manchester while enjoying the odd sojourn to New York, but for now she's happy to be back in Norfolk as she plans the promotion of her new record.
She's hoping to play some gigs in the city, before flying back across the Atlantic for some US dates.
last updated: 06/08/2008 at 11:04