New album out now:
“NIGHSWONGER SINGS NILSSON”
Songwriter Alyssandra Nighswonger and producer Chris Schlarb have joined forces to create a stunning tribute to Harry Nilsson. The album, recorded at Long Beach studio BIG EGO, features 9 songs, including “Think About Your Troubles”, “Without Her”, “One, “He Needs Me”, “Me and My Arrow”, “Are You Sleeping?”, “P.O.V. Waltz”, “Good Old Desk”, and “The Puppy Song”.
Schlarb, who has produced the likes of Mike Watt, Terry Reid, Swamp Dogg, and frequent Nilsson collaborator Jim Keltner, approached the project like a classic record and cultivated his own little ‘Wrecking Crew’ of musicians. He brought in drummer Danny Frankel, pianist R. Scott Dibble, bassist Anthony Shadduck, and George Madrid on pedal steel as the core band. Philip Glenn and Matthew Proffitt wrote the string and horn arrangements and the band tracked everything live together in three glorious days.
It has been pressed to a limited edition orange vinyl with an album cover that has been meticulously cross stitched as a tip of the hat to Nilsson's The Point!
"If Everything Has a Point... Then, I must have one, too!"
“I always wanted to record a Nilsson tribute album. His songs make me feel like I belong somewhere… It's like that line from The Point!, ‘If everything has point... Then I must have one too!’"
Nighswonger has a love for her community and an obsession with whimsical projects. She hosted an Open Mic at Viento y Agua Coffee House for 10 years. She collaborated with Long Beach music acts, The Dovelles, Lucky Penny, Ellen Warkentine and the Balboa Amusement Company Orchestra. In 2012, she embarked on a 1,450-mile music-tour by bicycle down the West Coast from Seattle, WA to Long Beach, CA. She hosted a series of multi-media Vaudeville Spectaculars. What's next? Nilsson.
"The thing I love about a tribute to Nilsson is that it becomes something bigger than me, and I can share my love of these songs with other Nilsson fanatics. After carefully coordinating the production and packaging of the album, I'm looking forward to developing a series of immersive live performances."
Watch “The Puppy Song” video!
Inspiration from Nilsson's The Point!
While, Nighswonger Sings Nilsson tributes songs to several Nilsson albums, 4 of the 9 songs are from Nilsson's 1970 classic, The Point! The story of The Point! takes place in the land of "Point," where everything and everybody has a point, and nothing is pointless, according to the law of the land. One day, a boy named Oblio, is born with a round head -- he doesn't have a Point! Oblio and his trusty dog, Arrow, are banished to the Pointless Forrest, and there is where the adventure begins, illuminated by the color of Nilsson's wonderful songs.
"The Point!" is my get happy album. Any time I've had a rough day (or a really good one), I always come back to it. With this project, I want to hit a spot that makes people feel that feeling' Nighswonger reminisces, "I remember recording the last song, on the last day, POV Waltz, it truly felt like a dream, flying high in the sky, and never wanting to come down."
The album cover design is 200 stitches per square inch, featuring the whale from “Think About Your Troubles” with hearts coming out of his… blow hole. The piece was passed back and forth between Alyssandra and her mother, Jill, for 9 months. It was stitched in coffeeshops and bars, on airplanes and boats, late at night, early in the morning, until the last stitch was stitched. It is playful and colorful and a perfect package for the translucent swirly orange vinyl it holds inside.
What started as a small pet project became a full studio production,
with brass, strings, and even a tap dancer...