In 2001, A Girl Called Eddy–the project headed by Erin Moran–released its debut, a five-song EP of lovely, slightly melancholy jazz-pop. Three years later, this little record would be eclipsed by one of the most amazing albums of the past decade, a orchestrated pop record so grand, so big, it seemed to come out of nowhere. It made many people’s year-end best-of lists (mine included). In the fall edition of The Recoup, we will feature a full-length examination of that record, but here’s a little taste of that conversation.
Tears All Over Town was a quiet little record, one that I instantly fell for.
It was a special EP, wasn’t it? To me, it represents finally having something released with my name on it! (Laughs) Up until that point, my own musical “career” as it were was always done in fits and spurts–a recording session here, an arrangement session there. Initially, I was working with the band Hem, and though it was a fun experience, it didn’t quite gel; they had their own thing, and I wanted to do mine. It wasn’t really a falling out; it was just recognizing that they couldn’t do my thing and I couldn’t do their thing simultaneously.
“Heartache” and “Girls Can Really Tear You Up Inside” would turn into something grander on the self-titled album.
Yeah, that was thanks to Richard Hawley. He heard the EP and really liked it, and he loved those songs. He said, “Well, I think we could make these songs into something grander,” he told me, and I put complete trust in him. I like the EP versions of those songs, too; they’re simpler and not so big.
I get the feeling they’re how they sound if one were to go see you perform.
Very much so. The grand arrangements on the album, they were great, but for an unknown artist with no budget, those arrangements would prove to be extremely limiting. Yet on the other hand, I wasn’t necessarily enthralled with the simpleness of the sound. How many lady singer/songwriter piano players singing downbeat jazz songs in a piano bar can you find in New York City? (Laughs) When it came time to make the album, I knew that Richard had something bigger in mind, and I let him take control of that, with the orchestration. I think I would have headed in that direction; the last song on the EP, “Fading,” really hinted at what would come next, and as I loved that big sound, I was quite willing to let him have his way! (Laughs)
Well, to me, what was great about Tears All Over Town was that it established you as a voice, it highlighted the power of your voice, showing that it was no fluke, or that the big arrangements weren’t overcompensating for vocal inability.
You think so? At the time, I wouldn’t have agreed with that! (Laughs)
Well, like I said, I was really wanting to get my songs out to the world, but I knew that there were plenty of other people doing similar things. Much like there’s the cliche of a sensitive folk guy with a goatee and an acoustic guitar, there’s also the cliche of the jazz girl with the acoustic guitar or the piano, and I was painfully aware of that. When I went to England, even though that sort of thing exists over there, it wasn’t as overwhelming as it was in New York City. Thankfully, Richard had a vision of what my record could sound like and what my music could be, and Tears All Over Town really served as a stepping stone to something bigger, something new, that would soon come to fruition.