Friday, June 30

06-30-2023 Zella Day

Audiotree Presents:
7PM Doors | 8PM Show
Lincoln Hall

Zella Day’s new album Sunday In Heaven signals a huge creative leap forward for the Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter.

Day–a prolific writer who is known to endlessly scribble lyrics and ideas for melodies on anything within reach–initially wrote more than 70 new songs for Sunday In Heaven. Though There was a wealth of material from which to choose, that number was eventually whittled down to ten tracks, all steeped in Cali blue skies and golden hour light.She spent the summer of 2019 recording demos with her friend, producer/engineer John Velasquez.Some months later, in the middle of quarantine, the pair jumped in a Jeep Wrangler and drove cross-country to record with producer Jay Joyce (Emmylou Harris, White Reaper) at his Nashville studio The Neon Church.

The songs, which feature vibrant, four on the floor time signatures, were recorded by a live band which included Autolux’s Carla Azar and Cage The Elephant’s Daniel Tichenor. Joyce’s expertise in effortlessly blending elements of different genres helped Zella to home in on the voice she had developed–a distinctly Los Angeles inflection combining ease and beauty stretching from the pangs of self-growth and resilience. Additional Production by John Velasquez and Alex Casnoff allowed Zella to continue to stretch creatively.

Sunday In Heaven Is liberally sprinkled with catchy melodies (the sunny stomp of “Am I Still Your Baby?,”a kiss-off to those who dared doubt her on “Last Time,”and the skippy “Drink too much / Think too much” refrain of “Mushroom Punch,” which Zella calls a “psychedelic trip of the heart”). Elsewhere, both “Girls” and “Golden,” with their breezy, 70s soft-focus sashay, emerged during two fertile days of writing just outside Muscle Shoals, AL with John Paul White (The Civil Wars). An ode to endless evenings with her friends, “Girls” recalls Fiona Apple in its off-kilter strut and evokes“ California Dreaming” in the cushiony harmonies.

There are songs that tackle matters of the heart, like “Almost Good,” with its rolling bolero, and “Dance for Love,” a joyous paean to Roy Orbison. Elsewhere “I Don’t Know Where to End” is her love letter to Long Beach (“I wanted to capture the warmth that I feel being embraced by that place”). At the album’s tender center stands “Bunny.” Over sparse piano chords, a reflective Zella pushes through the swirl of self-doubt. As “Bunny” builds to a climax, her voice cracks, both bruised and defiant,“Let it all go, everything’s different now.”“ I needed something like a mantra I could repeat to myself, the more I sing it the more I’ll believe it,” she explains.

It’s up to us to decide whether or not we are going to let certain challenges define our lives,”she continues. Truly, if Sunday In Heaven Is anything, it is the pure sound of a woman choosing who she wants to be in the world on her own terms; a record for moving forward out of darkness into light; for creating your own beautiful, sparkling reality exactly as you are. Heaven, indeed.

This show is at Lincoln Hall

Building Image
Lincoln Hall

2424 N Lincoln Ave
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 525-2501

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