A lot of people have been asking me about Rachelle Garniez, who sings backups and plays the Claviola in the last two clips from the TED House Band. So here’s a lovely song of Rachelle’s, also recorded earlier this year.
I first met Rachelle circa 2002 when we shared a stage in, of all places, Las Vegas! I’d been asked as a favour to play at a CDBaby event they called ‘Tour Baby’ where several of the artists that sell CDs on their site get together regionally for a free concert. It took place in an outlying casino called (I think) The New Orleans, in a kind of restaurant/lounge bar. I had never heard of Rachelle but I was instantly taken with her music, her oddball stage presence, and her funny lyrics. She’s a brilliant solo accordianist, coming from a very musical family and with strong European, Louisiana, and Americana roots. She started up an intro on accordian and it was clear right away she’s a great technician with a lot of feeling. Then she broke into song: “I’m a sucker for a broken nose…” and it went on intriguingly from there! We exchanged contact info and it struck me some time later that she’d be great at TED. So the next year we invited her to do a solo spot at TED, and it went over very well. She stuck around for the whole four days—as most performers do—and made some friends among the explorers and novellists and venture capitalists, many of whom fell madly in love with her and bugged me for her phone number.
The following year I asked her to play with my house band. I had no evidence that she would be as good a ‘team player’ as she was a soloist, but I just had a hunch she’s an intuitive musician, the kind I like best. Sure enough, she turned out to be a delight: very quick to latch onto an arranging idea, totally fluent in every key, and always spontaneous and uplifting with her tasty accordian and Claviola elaborations.
That year (2004) she shared the vocals with me on such classics as ‘Happy Talk’, ‘By A Waterfall’ and of course ‘La Vie En Rose’ which you can see here. We stayed in touch and I asked her back in ’08. She has a new album out, ‘Melusine Years‘, which I think is her best yet, with a maturity to the songwriting and calssic edge that some have said is reminiscent of Tom Waits or Randy Newman.
‘Hello Cruel World’ is one of a couple of Rachelle’s original songs that we played at TED. The lyric seemed especially appropriate in a year when world experts talked to us about mushrooms that could take over the planet; a fast-approaching breakthrough in the creation of synthetic lifeforms; and whether or not we can ‘domesticate’ germs.