Acoustic Guitar names “little victory” one of editor's top 3 picks

Triplearadio.com highlights Kerry as “Artist of the Week”

Orange County Weekly reviews “it's a wonderful life”

“it's a wonderful life” review at discoveringmusic.com

Los Angeles Times reviews “it's a wonderful life”

“it's a wonderful life” makes National Public Radio 2003 CD Gift Guide

National Public Radio profiles Kerry on “Musings with Alphonse Vinh ”

Orange County Weekly names Kerry #31 of the best OC bands… ever!

Orange County Register calls “little victory” one of the best albums of 2003

Kerry Getz “defies odds” with “live at the galaxy”

Orange County Weekly declares “Kerry Getz should be famous”

Los Angeles Times introduces “pop goddess,” Kerry Getz

Los Angeles Times names “Apollo” one of the best albums of the decade

“Apollo” is named one of the top DIY releases by Performing Songwriter Magazine

Music Reviews Quarterly christens “Apollo” as “gentle and mystical”

 

Acoustic Guitar

February 2004 No. 134


Kerry Getz

Little Victory

While her previous release, 2001's Live at the Galaxy, showcased this southern California favorite's singing and songwriting in the barest guitar-and-vocal setting, Kerry Getz fares well all dressed up in Martin Beal's tasteful Aimee Mann—influenced folk-pop production. Her fine acoustic picking is occasionally buried in the washes of keyboards and programming, but Getz' rich, dreamy voice rises up from the emotional depths of the soul-searching and star-gazing lyrics, floating through the chiming, atmospheric arrangements with an allure that fans of Shawn Colvin and Dar Williams should find irresistible. Getz's cover versions ("Walk Away Renee" on Live, Jackson Browne's "Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate" here) indicate the kind of boomer influences she's woven into an original vision and sumptuous sound. (World in Motion, www.worldinmotionrecords.com )

— Derk Richardson

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Triplearadio.com Artist Of The Week

January 12, 2004

 KERRY GETZ

The Album
It's A Wonderful Life

The Single
"Suspended In December"

Label
World in Motion

Discography
Apollo (World in Motion) 1997
Live At The Galaxy (World in Motion) 2001

Little Victory (World in Motion) 2002
It's A Wonderful Life (World in Motion) 2003

Liner Notes

Kerry Getz loves Jackson Browne. As evidence, she recorded "Sleep's Dark And Silent Gate" on her Little Victory CD and she named her record company after his 1989 album, World In Motion . So you have to wonder if she was more thrilled about her #31 placing on the Orange County Weekly 's recent list of the 129 Greatest OC Bands Ever, or the fact that Jackson was named just three slots ahead of her at #28.

Okay, that's a not-so-reasonably clever way to start off a feature, but c'mon…how much stock should you place in a list made by one of those alternative weeklies, anyway? Well, if you've never taken a moment to really listen to Kerry, you might want to dust off your copy of 2002's Little Victory or her more recent It's A Wonderful Life so you can discover why the OC Weekly named Kerry Getz #31 when Junior Watson and Dick Dale could only muster up a #16 and #22 showing, respectively. Or why she finished right behind Tim Buckley and 19 places ahead of José Feliciano. But you know what? That ain't the half of it. Where do you suppose Orange County 's most famous hit-makers, The Offspring and No Doubt, finished on this here list? Numbers one and two, you figure? Ha! Try #72 and #118. For chrissakes, even The Righteous Brothers finished 98 places behind Kerry Getz!

Still not convinced? It's a local paper writing about local artists, so what kind of perspective does that offer? That's a fair question. The Los Angeles Times gave It's A Wonderful Life , Kerry's newest CD, 3 ½ stars out of a possible four. Feeling a bit cynical today? L.A. is basically North Orange County , you say? Sorry, O.C. and L.A. are two different worlds, but okay, maybe you'll get all warm and tingly at the fact that National Public Radio featured Kerry not once but twice in the past three months. And they don't have any vested interest whatsoever in where she's from. Need more coaxing? Jeez, you are a tough cookie. Okay, see the radio quotes a little lower on this page? Every person we hit up for a quote gave us one. Do you know how often we get 100% response when we ask for a quote for these Artist Of The Week features? Can you say 0%? Hell, Gene Murrell at WWVV sent us his comment unsolicited!

"But it's January, so why should I play a Christmas album now?" Go listen to "Suspended In December," and make a note of every time she references Santa or Christmas or Chanukah or reindeer or anything else that even remotely sounds like Christmas. Go ahead, we'll wait. You might wanna listen twice just in case you missed a quick, mumbled mention of Rudolph, mangers or the three wise men. We're waiting.

The Musicians
Kerry Getz (vocals, guitar); Martin Beal (guitar, bass, percussion, keys); Rick Campos (drums); Landon Donsbach (upright bass); Barry Hovis (keys); Jason Feddy (backing vocals).

Will Appeal To Fans Of
Jewel, Dar Williams, Shawn Colvin, Jackson Browne.

Site
www.worldinmotionrecords.com

Already On

WMFO Medford/Boston
WNCW Spindale-Asheville/Greenville/Spartanburg, NC
WNKU Highland Heights, KY/Cincinnati
KDNK Carbondale/Aspen
WCBE Columbus, OH
WUKY Lexington
KFAN Fredericksburg, TX
KROK DeRidder, LA
KSLU Hammond, LA
KUWR (Wyoming Public Radio) Laramie/Cheyenne
…and more!

What Is Radio Saying?
"Kerry Getz continues to polish her formidable songwriting and vocal skills while stepping up her production values. Getz's natural charisma still shines through, with personal songs many will relate to. Her constant gigging in Southern California and steady pursuit of Triple A airplay continue to build her reputation for great music. Here's hoping a steady stream of cookies in the mail to PDs and MDs won't get her a payola warrant."
—Jim Manion, PD/MD, WFHB Bloomington , IN

"Kerry's got an effortlessness to her voice that really puts you at home in her world. She paints a vivid aural picture of places and emotions, with memorable melodies...what's not to like? We'd play her even if Becca stopped enclosing cookies!"
— Sandy Blackwell , MD , KROK DeRidder, LA

"Kerry is one of the most talented songwriters I know. We have shared the stage many times (in my former musician life) and when she came across my desk, I was surprised and elated. We added ‘Little Victory' and ‘Christmastime Is Here,' respectively. I look forward to hearing more of her music and can't wait to see what's in store for her. Her time has come!"
— Gene Murrell , MD , WWVV (Wave 104.9) Hilton Head, SC/ Savannah , GA

"Kerry combines dreamy vocals with a pop sensibility that would appeal to anyone who likes the work of Dar Williams or Jewel."
—Skip Naft, PD/MD, KDNK Carbondale/Aspen

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Orange County Weekly

December 12-19, 2003

KERRY GETZ

If Kerry Getz had been in Bethlehem for the Very First Christmas, there's absolutely no doubt she would have cut short her encore at the Following Yonder Starbucks, grabbed her guitar and donkeyed on down to the Club Manger to carol the last couple of choruses with the rest of the angels. In fact, knowing Kerry, we suspect she would have hung around even later to perform a free solo show—sort of like the Little Drummer Boy, except of course she's not a boy and, thank God, would have the sense not to bang a freakin' drum next to a newborn.

What we never knew until now is what would have been on the set list. But Getz has released a Christmas album, It's a Wonderful Life , on the World In Motion label. The 11 songs on the disc canvas the undulating moods of the season, beginning with the traditional "Lullay Lully," before bending immediately into one of Getz's own compositions, "Suspended in December." It goes on like that, from Old England ("The Wexford Carol ") to vintage Charlie Brown (Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here"), and from homey warmth ("It's a Wonderful Life") to, well, songs with names such as "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" and "In the Rain." Every selection is arranged and delivered with Getz's achingly grateful style—even Martin Newell's snickeringly cynical "Christmas In Suburbia." All we can say is: "Jesus!"

—Dave Wielenga 

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www.DiscoveringArtists.com

12.17.03

Kerry Getz: It's a Wonderful Life

Let me sum it up: I hate Christmas music, but I love this CD it's without a doubt my last great discovery of 2003. Kerry Getz has a voice that is a mysterious cross between Jenny Bruce and Joni Mitchell; a sound intriguing beyond belief, and the ability to pen intricate original Yuletide songs, while blending in some well-known favorites. I love the tunes because they're not the typical "Jingle Bells" selections; these songs depict joy and pain that comes with the holiday season. If you like a mature sound mixed with the bright messages of the holiday season, pick this up. I promise you, it's a holiday essential. I also received a sampler with songs from her last three albums, and through this small taste, I can tell you that she is an artist well worth discovering, because her sultry, smooth voice is absolutely intoxicating.

Favorite Tracks: Lullay Lully, It's a Wonderful Life
Rating: 5 stars

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Los Angeles Times

December 11, 2003 

Tinsel tunes for the holidays

What's another holiday season without a slew of new Yuletide recordings to provide the soundtrack?

By Randy Lewis, Times Staff Writer

What's another holiday season without a slew of new Yuletide recordings to provide the soundtrack? Diversity reigns once again, except perhaps for the absence of a good death-metal Christmas collection.

Kerry Getz
"It's a Wonderful Life"
(World in Motion)

*** 1/2

One of those rare musicians who sees winter, Christmas, death and rebirth as adult themes worthy of serious examination. This veteran Southern California singer-songwriter's original songs and renderings of a few less-than-obvious carols delve into the myriad emotions the season can release, from loneliness and self-reflection to spiritual yearning and, yes, joy.

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National Public Radio

Weekend Edition Sunday

November 30, 2003


Director's Cuts: CD Gift Guide for 2003

As music director of Weekend Edition Sunday , Ned Wharton supervises music continuity for the show, keeps tabs on what's new and noteworthy in the music world and produces many of the artist features heard on our program. Wharton's 2003 holiday gift suggestion list includes artists from the United States and around the world.

Kerry Getz

It's a Wonderful Life

(World in Motion)

California singer-songwriter Kerry Getz says that when she was a kid, her older brother got an acoustic guitar from Santa, and while he was in school, Kerry would surreptitiously teach herself Christmas carols on the instrument. Today her CD, It's a Wonderful Life , on World in Motion Records shows off her full talents, with some Christmastime originals as well as rich folk-rock arrangements of lesser-performed carols such as "Lullay Lully" and "The Wexford Carol ."

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National Public Radio

Musings with Alphonse Vinh

September 2003

 Kerry Getz: The Minstrel of Orange County

"I was raised in the Southern California town of Arcadia . I grew up with music and there was a piano in our house," says singer/songwriter Kerry Getz. "My mother -- she was a child prodigy on the piano. I taught myself to play on her piano by picking out a song I heard, but I didn't take piano lessons."

On the West Coast, Getz's music wins accolades from appreciative critics who rave about her "lush, diverse and poignant... songs... delivered in a voice brimming with the same attributes."

Getz has made several national tours, but has never gained the wide audience her admiring critics and fans think she deserves. But she has three albums out on World In Motion Records , with a new one due out at Christmas, followed by another tour.

Getz has a loyal following on the West Coast, where music critic Dave Wielenga has dubbed her "the minstrel of Orange County ." In California , she plays venues such as the Greek Theatre in L.A. , the Galaxy in Santa Ana and the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano . She has also taken her act to small towns like Greeley , Colo. , and bigger cities like Memphis and Austin .

Expressiveness and haunting clarity are the hallmarks of Getz the singer. Her first album Apollo arrived in 1997. Los Angeles Times critic Mike Boehm said at the time: "Its level of performance and songwriting artistry and its first-rate production values make it clear that Getz... is up to the national platform she deserves."

Getz tends to juxtapose her vibrant voice against dark and disturbing human experiences. Take the eerily haunting song "Cyclone." It's a song about one of God's true innocents, a young woman who is tragically murdered by her stalker.

"She wore bells around her ankles and ribbons/in her hair/And she danced just like a cyclone at a small town country fair/And she didn't see him watching from the shadows/No. She never saw him there."

Reflecting on the song, Getz muses, "Writers, I admit, can take a subject that may be so dark and bring some strange beauty to it based on their imagination. There was this girl whom I saw dancing. She was oblivious the world around her. She wore ribbons and bells around her ankles. And I just put her in this song with the serial killer. There's a lot of mortality in my songs."

A more personal brush with mortality is "Inhale," a deeply felt tribute to the older brother whose guitar she confiscated as a little girl and held on to until she could play it. Getz says she wrote the song after Kurt died at age 35 from a drug overdose.

"Sunlight and shadow. There I am/I'm darkness and light./I can't be caught. Can't be held/Close your eyes/And there I am/As the dream starts to fade/I'm not quite here but I'm not quite there/you can reach out for me/There I am."

The singer assumes the dead brother's spirit voice, affirming that he will live on within her. "Inhale, hold it. There I am/I'm part of you now./You're my glove. My balloon/But not for long./You exhale. Then I'm gone."
Getz's latest album is Little Victory .

The songwriting is strong, passionate and poetic. The anguish of conflicted love is a recurring theme. In the folk-rock ballad, "0cean in a Bottle," Getz's voice aches with the day-after heartbreak of knowing that a love affair is going nowhere:

"I don't want to see/what's happening to we/how did we get here/we let go of the throttle/an ocean in a bottle... /we're droning about things/like sympathetic strings/shadowboxing the familiar/so here we go again/this is where you will pretend that you can't hear me/I'm calling I'm calling."

Getz's songs illumine the heartbreak of losses but they let you feel life's fragile beauty. For even the most desolate romantic, Getz holds out hope. In her title song, "Little Victory," she tells us: "can't you see every day's a little victory/it'll all work out eventually/just hold on/can't you see every day's a little victory/find the beauty in the mystery/and I'll be there."

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OC Weekly

Vol. 8, No. 42 June 20 - 26, 2003

The 129 Greatest OC Bands Ever!

31. Kerry Getz

A sophisticated storyteller, a feeling-filled singer and an underrated guitarist, Kerry Getz is a local, unheralded treasure. Because she has a way of inhabiting a song, of wringing out every nuanced texture and emotion, the Newport Beach resident makes her pain our pain - and there's a lot to go around. Self-doubt, jealousy and obsession make more than cameo appearances in her troubled, darkly-tinged folk/pop/rock musings. Yes, the charming Getz - a veteran of the OC coffeehouse circuit - garnered rave reviews for 1997's breakthrough Apollo and last year's melancholy Little Victory . It's onstage, though, where the Corona del Mar High alum really draws us in, with her confident, affable stage presence. Of course, the Weekly's John Roos knew all this way back in the fall of 1990. That's when he interviewed Kerry at her parents' antique-laced home on Balboa Island for a story in the Orange Coast Daily Pilot . The headline read: “Songstress Kerry Getz Deserves a Wider Audience.” And that still rings true.

Just to give you a sense of context…

Jackson Browne was #28 and Tim Buckley #30…

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OC Register

December 27, 2002

Special to the Register

By Robert Kinsler

Top 10 lists are insightful and irrelevant; wonderful and terrible. It's great to be able to recognize the unsigned and unsung musical heroes of Orange County 's local scene, but sadly, there were a few artists who didn't make the list whose 2002 releases were deserving of acclaim. But here are 10 artists who celebrate the diversity and range of the scene and put out memorable albums to prove it.

2. little victory , Kerry Getz (World in Motion) ­ Fans of Aimee Mann's most recent albums should pick up a copy of little victory , the stunning 11-song collection that Getz released this year. The highlights are many; my favorites are "Traveling Somewhere," "Ocean in a Bottle" and "Amnesia." But this is a wonderful album, and will sound as great a generation from now as it does today. Info: www.kerry-getz.com .

You might like if you enjoy: Aimee Mann, the Pretenders' "Last of the Independents."

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Orange County Metro

January 16, 2003

ANOTHER LITTLE VICTORY FOR KERRY GETZ
LITTLE VICTORIES EQUAL BIG SUCCESS

By Jennifer Corday

As one of Orange County 's leading ladies, Kerry Getz continues to achieve success, personally and financially, by making music that speaks from the heart. Her latest release, Little Victory, has already received airplay and won numerous awards, including the #2 Release of the Year by The Orange County Register. The title track was selected for inclusion on the OC Weekly Compilation, and Getz was appointed Female Artist Of The Year by Just Plain Folks, a music organization with over 20,000 members. As co-owner of her own independent record label, Getz has a plan for the new year to help feed the fire and turn her Little Victory into a big success.

Having paid her dues, Getz used to play anywhere and everywhere, including outdoor gigs in the middle of February, "when it's 10 PM and you're freezing your little fingers off." Now, with two critically acclaimed albums and years of experience performing, Getz can be more selective about the shows she chooses to accept. "I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to pick and choose the gigs that I enjoy doing," says Getz, "that keeps your soul alive." Getz also plans to bring in a staff to help work the record from a business standpoint so she can devote more time to writing and performing. "I was always spreading myself so thin. Writing and performing always got pushed aside because I was constantly running to the post office and sending out CD packages." With more help on the business end, Getz is planning a college tour and national distribution for the new CD.

Getz co-produced the album with producer-engineer Marty Beal, a long time acquaintance she rediscovered by chance. "He's somebody I knew years ago. I did background vocals for him for some band and then lost track of him. Later, I went into a studio and they happened to set me up with him as the engineer. He played me some stuff and it sounded exactly like the direction I wanted to go in." In the past, Getz has found it hard to collaborate. "I have a hard time accepting input from people. It's like you have this beautiful baby and someone says wouldn't it look great with purple hair?" But Getz found a unique chemistry with Marty that she had never experienced before and decided he was someone she wanted to work with. They got to work immediately at Beal's home studio, where they could work at a relaxed pace, and even took a few days to record on the beach. "My friend Don has a beach house down on the water in San Clemente ," says Getz, "so we took all the gear down there for three or four days." Surrounded by the sound of crashing waves, Getz found the atmosphere inspiring and finished the lyrics to the title track, “Little Victory.” "We would have a little lunch, walk on the beach, and then go back to recording." Getz is more than pleased with the finished album, and with Beal's involvement. "He had enormous input. He co-wrote a couple of songs with me, and made some suggestions to others I had already written. It's the closest I've ever gotten to hearing my songs the way I imagined them to be."

With a finished album under her belt, Getz hired an independent promotion team to work the CD to radio. Her music was officially added to several stations across the nation, and even it the Top Ten. Little Victory is still getting spins in hot spots across the nation, which is perhaps even more impressive considering the competition. "You never know who is releasing a new CD, but it turned out that Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, and The Stones were all releasing albums at the same time, so I had some stiff competition. I did pretty well considering."

Getz co-owns her independent record label World In Motion, with the aforementioned beach house owner, friend, and partner Don Danks , who helped finance her first CD. Danks is a successful entrepreneur who helps new companies find investors. As a side project, Danks opened a coffeehouse in Corona Del Mar, where Getz ended up performing regularly. "One of his dreams was to help an artist. I played there, and he loved my music. He happened to be listening to my tape the moment I called, which was kind of magical, and he said there was something about my music, that when he heard it he felt that it was his calling to help me out. He turned into my fairy god brother." Danks agreed to finance her first album, the award-winning Apollo , and also backed a small cross-country tour where Getz took her music on the road.

Later, Danks was approached by an up-and-coming new record label owned by a couple of industry veterans who wanted him to come on board and help them find investors. He introduced them to Getz and they were immediately impressed. They signed her to the label, along with actor-turned musician Steven Seagal. She began working on a new record, but with the album half underway, checks started bouncing, and the company went belly up, leaving Getz stranded with unpaid studio bills and no claim to the masters. "I was able to negotiate with the studio, and buy them back. Most of the tracks weren't usable because of the way it was produced, but I really wanted a few of the sessions. Billy Payne from Little Feat had been recording with me, and we did a version of a Jackson Brown tune, with just Billy on piano and me on vocal, that was great and ended up on the album." The album, named Apollo , was an incredible success, designated as one of the Top Ten Albums of the Year, and one of the Best Albums of the Decade by the LA Times . One of the tracks won third place in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, where Getz received $1,000 in cash.

Kerry has had her share of day jobs in the past, but now plays music for a living, performing live at least three times a week. Although she sometimes hires a band, Getz mainly performs as a soloist, and enjoys the freedom and flexibility of her independence. Armed with only her acoustic guitar and some great songs, she has generated a loyal following, mainly from playing the Orange County coffee house and club circuit. She plays regularly at Diedrichs, The Gypsy Den, Starbucks, and Muldoons, performing a mix of originals and covers. "I love doing my originals but I also like doing other people's music if it speaks to me. I like to do things that challenge me as a musician and challenge the audience. I don't do the juke box thing very well, trying to placate someone by playing a song they want to hear. I would rather do a song they might not know, an off-beat cover, like an old Peter Gabriel tune, or a Dar Williams song, and open someone up to something they might not already know."

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OC Weekly

June 22-28, 2001

Our Minstrel

Kerry Getz ought to be famous, but for now, she's all ours

 

by Dave Wielenga

The minstrel of Orange County figured she'd be a star by now.

"Well, I wouldn't say star," Kerry Getz gently emphasizes. Her face morphs into something like wise amusement, as if she comprehends why everybody else keeps focusing on that word "star" and underscores why she doesn't. "Making music isn't really a choice for me," she explains, chuckling helplessly. "I always thought I'd be farther along than I am right now, but I keep doing it because it still feels like this is where I'm supposed to be."

Getz will be making music at the House of Blues in Anaheim on Friday night, preceding the Fenians. She'll also open for Michelle Shocked on June 27 at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana ; the site of her new CD, Live at The Galaxy . Over the years, Getz has performed on some of the Southland's most important stages, from the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles to the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano . She's undertaken a couple of national tours, too, parlaying contacts with radio stations into on-air performances that promoted her shows and her remarkable 1997 studio CD, Apollo in places ranging from little college towns like Greeley, Colorado, and Seymour, Indiana, to such big music cities as Memphis, Austin and New Orleans.

But the mainstay of Getz's music career remains Orange County 's coffeehouse circuit, which includes not only java joints but also hotels, bars, nightclubs and shopping centers. This is where she makes her living on small stipends from the venue, whatever's in the tip jar and the occasional CD sale. This is what makes her our minstrel.

Other people don't have to understand, and lots of them don't, but some are coming around. "My parents pressured me for years to set up some kind of, like, time limit for pursuing my music," Getz says, her smile widening. "Or, as my mother used to put it, ‘How long are you going to keep up this foolishness?' But I think it's become evident that that's not really gonna happen any time soon, so they don't hassle me nearly as often about when I'm going to quit or when I'm going to start thinking about the future."

It's hard to feel foolish when a bright and breezy spring day in the middle of the week is completely your own. On a whim, Getz has slipped on a summer dress, phoned a friend and driven up from Newport Beach for a late lunch at an outdoor café in Costa Mesa . The place is nearly deserted because all the sensible people are at work, counting down the last couple of hours at their latest nine-to-five. And when Getz finishes her eggplant sandwich, she plans to go shopping for CDs.

With the trill of her cell phone, however, those plans change. The woman on the other end is asking Getz and her guitar to be at Triangle Square in 90 minutes. Some other singer has fallen through the cracks of the shopping center's entertainment schedule. Suddenly, Getz's open-ended day is destined to dead-end into a three-hour set of music to buy stuff by. This wouldn't happen if she were a star. But Getz doesn't sound resentful. It comes with the territory when you're a minstrel.

"Actually, it's kind of a nice way to spend a spring evening," she says, shrugging. "I can play pretty much whatever I want, and there are worse things than watching the looks of little children as they dance around to my songs. Plus, this way, I can afford those CDs."

But Getz's music is not really for children. It enchants adults. Her lush, diverse and poignant collection of songs is delivered in a voice brimming with the same attributes. She composes sophisticated pieces that illustrate in stories and with characters how the same life forces that bring people together often drive them apart. Getz might remind you a bit of Jewel – if Jewel wrote better songs, sang them with better phrasing, played better guitar and wore fewer sheer, clingy tops. Only the capricious nature of the pop-music gods has kept Getz from fame. And maybe some of her own naiveté.

"I was always thinking, ‘Well, this will happen on its own,'" Getz recounts. "I was thinking, ‘Someday, I'll get picked up by a label or some big artist will notice me and want to record one of my songs.' In other words, I was always waiting for other people to take care of things for me."

Meanwhile, Getz kept her day job, whatever that happened to be at the time decorating balloons, framing pictures, selling books, taking hotel reservations, assisting a veterinarian, selling guitars and sheet music, singing telegrams, selling insurance, and working the complaint desk at a daily newspaper.

"But eventually, back in the mid-1990s, I realized that my music career wasn't really going to happen on its own, not from me gigging part-time," Getz says. "So I just decided to take it on. I just told myself, ‘I can do this. Other people do it. Why can't I?'"

Getz attended the annual Gavin magazine trade conference in Boulder , Colorado , where she absorbed a crash course in the inner workings of the recording industry, from radio stations to record companies to distribution to promotion. "But the best part of it was hanging around these folks, making contacts and, in some cases, making friends," she says.

By 1997, Getz had released Apollo, which received rave reviews including a spot on Los Angeles Times critic Mike Boehm's Top 10 list. Backed by a full band and meticulous production, the album gave Getz's songs the star treatment without ruining their simple beauty.

Then Getz toured in support of the record. "I was putting together a cross-country tour based on the people I'd met at the Gavin conference, including meeting the guy who was my road manager," she says. "We got a van; I read the map, and he drove. We just hightailed it from city to city. It was great fun."

Back in Southern California , Getz has taken on full-time management of her career. That means forging relationships with bookers, whether through phone calls or promotional packets. It means forging relationships with fans through mailing lists and a website (www.kerry-getz.com). It means sending out feelers to other artists who may want to record her songs or to movie and television executives who may want to use her music on soundtracks. It means finding time to write new material and finding the means to produce a new CD. It means securing new places to showcase herself, through contests, festivals, conferences and workshops. It means showing up regularly at the old places.

"Sometimes, you develop a good, strong relationship with a venue, and then the personnel changes. You call, and the people you've dealt with for so long aren't there," Getz says. "You ask about performing, and they say, ‘Send us a package.' It's like starting over at a new place again. Just keeping up with the names of people like that can be a big job."

But when you are a true minstrel, there is always the best part of the job.

"I still love playing," says Getz. "Maybe driving to the gig, you know, I'm frustrated by something. Or I get there, and the place where I'm supposed to set up is full of people and tables. Or nobody knows anything, and the power won't work at the plug I'm supposed to use. It can really try my patience.

"But once I get everything going, I turn on the amp, and there's volume. Even in the worst situations, I really love to play."

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Orange County Register

June 2, 2000


"Live at the Galaxy":  Kerry Getz Defies Odds

Commercial "live" releases have traditionally worked best when the music is delivered loud and hard, with the sound of audience cheers and freewheeling performances combining to immortalize seminal releases such as Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan and Neil Young's Arc/Weld triple-disc masterpiece. 

Acoustic-style efforts recorded in front of an audience are a more difficult beast to reel in no matter the power of the artist. But, Orange County singer-songwriter Kerry Getz has defied the odds on her newly released Live at the Galaxy , a worthy follow-up to Apollo (1997). 

While Getz alone delivers all seven songs on the disc to the accompaniment of her acoustic guitar, there is plenty of variety. On "Why Am I So Uncool?" Getz sings in a jazzy style displaying her impressive skills as a singer able to navigate every note and phrase perfectly.

On "Another Fine Mess" and "After All This Time" her soprano is even more brilliant. Getz's original stories of romantic loss are anything but cliché, exploring the mysteries that draw people together in unrestrained infatuation only to find that same obsession eventually manifest into painful separation. 

She concludes her 31-minute recorded set with a sparse cover of the Left Banke's 1960's hit "Walk Away Renee," transforming the Baroque 'n' roll-flavored pop sheen of the original into a compelling tale of starry-eyed death. 

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Music Reviews Quarterly

Winter 1997-98


Kerry Getz - Apollo

World In Motion Records

An emotive singer, Kerry Getz works an acoustic sound which relies on elements of pop to create some beautiful melodies. On Apollo she has two songs in a row, "Cyclone" and "Inhale,” which are about as pretty as songs can be. Both use an accordion at some point, more pronounced on "Cyclone" with its tragic story centered near a midway, and the accordion does an excellent job of accenting both the beauty and melancholy of the songs. As a writer of slow, lovely songs, Getz is hard to beat. Knowing that few recordings could hold up with just slow numbers, Getz wisely sprinkles some faster, more pop pieces into the mix, but it truly is on the slower melodies where she excels. She can create almost a hypnotic spell on some numbers like "Perfect Words," and on the title track she combines the mysticism of her tones with a ore pop-oriented melody line to create a pleasing piece with a lilting sway to it.

Acoustic in nature, Kerry Getz's work is gentle and mystical, keeping in mind that at times she does work to sprightlier rhythms and pop-ier tunes. To work this kind of music, a writer has to be good or else they become mawkish. Getz's work isn't mawkish. She finds a way to work her slow rhythms and gentle melodies with appropriate acoustic settings with fairly full backings. The drums often solidify the beat, adding to the hypnotic aspect of where she goes. The mystical aspects get enhanced by Getz's vocals, a smooth blend of atmosphere and clarity. She prefers to float her vocals along, sometimes over subdued background vocals, accenting the tone, rather than commanding attention for the voice itself. It's a tricky area she covers, and again it would be easy for her to slip into atomspheric nothingness, but she doesn't. (And perhaps to prove she can resist that urge, she tacks on a fine blues/rock number as an uncredited track at the end, showing how her vocals can have a solid rock power to them when she wants them to. It's this real world grittiness which keeps her more mystical numbers from assuming a New Age airiness to them.)

Kerry Getz has found an area of mystical rather than mellow acoustic music and she works it well. Part of the success lies in the way she centers her lyrics in real-world concerns rather than trying to become introspective. There's an element of reality to her spirituality which grounds it nicely. Added to that are those moments of pop influence which give the melodies a more universal appeal. Listeners who enjoy a well-established mood which encourages an element of quiet, gentle thoughtfulness will find that Kerry Getz fills an often-abandoned area of acoustic music well.

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Performing Songwriter

July/August 1997

TOP 12 INDEPENDENT RECORDINGS

KERRY GETZ

Apollo

A young woman stands at her mirror, lamenting her looks, believing that only if she had a "turned up nose" or pretty clothes, she'd be desirable to the guy of her dreams. That's the picture Kerry Getz paints in "Beautiful to You.” It's just one of the many songs on Apollo that she knocks out of the ballpark.

Getz, a native of Newport Beach , California , has a husky alto that she moves ably between pounding rock dirges like "Let Me Out" to the gentle folk of "Cyclone.” The latter's soft accordion and mandolin strokes run counter to the dark tale of murder at a state fair. There's a longing in her voice that make the searches and questions evident in songs like "Apollo," "Perfect Words" and "This Summer Afternoon" all the more immediate.

Getz shows her modern pop sensibilities on "Weak", with its cool sitar line and "I Could Fall For You", a perfect summer time single. She and her co-producer Doug Doyle manage to walk the fine line between studio polish and live organics. "I can do anything at all" she sings in "This Summer Afternoon," and Apollo , her debut disc, proves that's no hollow boast.

-Neil Fagan

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Los Angeles Times

March 15, 1997

She That's Got Is Getz

Her considerable skills have long been brewing in coffeehouses. Will her debut CD make her a star?

By: MIKE BOEHM

TIMES STAFF WRITER

(Costa Mesa) - Coffeehouse culture may be hip nowadays, but it's a kind of purgatory for any musician forced to compete for years on end with the cackle and hum of caffeinated conversation and the grind of the espresso machine.

Kerry Getz has been singing in coffeehouses in Orange County for 15 years, but she finally may have found her ticket out. Mundane as a career as "coffeehouse singer" may sound, there is something fairy tale-like in the story of how she came, after all those years, to release her first album.

She says that in the early 1990s, she fell under the spell of a record producer who controlled her like a dark wizard, while she sank into a dungeon-like state of mental entrapment. But she emerged at last to find what she calls "a fairy godbrother," a wealthy businessman from Newport Beach who now is her financial backer.

Instead of returning at the end of her adventure with a Tolkien-like magic ring, Getz has emerged with a magical compact disc called "Apollo." Its level of performance and songwriting artistry and its first-rate production values make it clear that Getz, at 36, is long overdue for deliverance from the coffeehouse grind, up to the national platform she deserves.

The daughter of a manufacturer whose company makes megaphones and pompoms for cheerleaders, Getz grew up in Newport Beach and turned to singing as a career after realizing she didn't have the grades to be a veterinarian. At open-mike nights at Bilbo Baggins in Costa Mesa , she conquered her initial shyness and graduated to the local circuit of clubs and coffee shops.

Aside from a few forays elsewhere in Southern California , she has performed several nights a week on the local coffeehouse scene since 1982. By the mid-'80s, she had shown her potential by writing "Apollo," a haunting, instantly memorable song in which she sadly yearns to escape everyday dreariness for a world of creative inspiration.

In the early '90s, she thought that she had found a path out of the coffee shops. A small-time record producer with big plans and a well-equipped home recording studio in Sherman Oaks wanted to turn her into a star. She moved to Los Angeles County to work with him.

Getz admits that the 3 1/2-year chapter that followed was one of humiliation and loss of self. But recently, on the patio of a coffeehouse in Costa Mesa , she told the story without hesitation – speaking in a deep, breathy voice, with an openness that also is evident when she performs.

"I spent pretty much every waking hour almost being brainwashed by this guy," she said. "It sounds ridiculous. It would make for a really, really bad movie of the week."

She said that in her desire to make a record, she gradually ceded control of her life to her Svengali, who dictated how she ate and exercised, jealously limited her performing schedule and contacts with friends and put her through mind games and endurance tests in the recording studio in the name of eliciting an emotionally charged performance.

The recordings were very good, Getz says now, but her life was a wreck. Two very troubled songs on her "Apollo" album came out of the experience. "Let Me Out" depicts someone awash in suicidal thoughts and reaching for a reason to live. "Inhale," a beautiful and deep song inspired partly by her only brother's death from a drug overdose, captures a moment in which one becomes aware of, yet is unable to connect with, something very near yet infinite – something commonly called a soul.

"In that horrible period," she said, "I felt there was nothing of me left, just this little part floating around that I couldn't grasp."

Finally, in mid-1994, she broke through the chain of fears that had bound her to her manager/producer – which meant giving up on an unfinished project into which she says she had poured $28,000, part of it borrowed from her parents.

"She seemed like these cult victims I had read about, somebody who removes any reason to exist except to please this cult figure," recalls Drayfus Grayson, a close friend who kept in periodic contact with Getz during her dark period and helped her pull out of it after she decided to sever ties with the producer. "She got some counseling, and she seemed to dust herself off, and I think [playing] music helped a lot."

Getz says she came to realize that her loss of self stemmed from "a character flaw I had. . . . I would put other people's opinions and decisions before mine. Even though this episode was horrific, I am grateful I went through it. There are lessons I needed to learn in a bad way."

She returned to Orange County in 1994, and her performances made it apparent that she had transformed herself from a talented but unfinished contender into a full-fledged artist, an undiscovered peer of the Shawn Colvins, Joan Osbornes and Sheryl Crows of the world.

"She seems like she has a certain depth now [that comes from] being bruised," says Grayson, himself a talented songwriter. "She's come a long way, but she's had to go through some rough terrain to get there."

Don Danks only had to see Getz perform once to know that he wanted to play a part in helping her reach beyond the coffeehouse scene.

At 39, he has made a fortune as a business executive and deal-maker and is president of Prosoft, a technology company in Santa Ana . To indulge the "frustrated musician" in him, Danks had opened Local Grounds, a coffeehouse in Corona del Mar.

Getz won him over instantly when she first played there about a year ago. "The coffeehouse circuit has some talented people, but she was head and shoulders above the rest," Danks says. "I was blown away by the emotion she puts into a song, even when she's playing before five people in a coffeehouse. Here you have a talented artist who needs a break to get her over the hump. I felt really compelled to help her produce [her album] the right way."

Getz said that Danks put up $25,000 to record her album and manufacture a first pressing of 2,500 CDs. The clean, richly detailed sound of "Apollo" owes largely to contacts Getz made at Calvary Church Newport-Mesa, where she began performing 2 1/2 years ago in worship services that incorporate contemporary pop songs. Doug Doyle, the church's sound engineer, produced the album, recording the basic instrumentation live in the church sanctuary and later dubbing in voices and instrumental solos at a studio in Costa Mesa .

Now Getz is faced with the arduous, long-shot mechanics of turning a custom recording into a national success. Danks says he will fund the album's promotion.

"There are so many opportunities for people to do like [folk singer] Ani DiFranco has--release your own CD, get distribution and market yourself," Getz said, hopefully. "There's a big groundswell of musicians taking their music back" and not relying on record company promotion to be heard.

There also is a groundswell of popular chanteuses such as Alanis Morissette, Milla, Jewel and Poe, all young and gorgeous and about the age Getz was when she first stepped nervously up to an open mike.

"I'm very happy for and partly jealous of all the female songwriters who have gotten an album out in their early 20s," Getz said. "But I'm also grateful that I didn't. I'm happy with the way my writing has matured, and I'm much more confident with the place where I am now as a person."

The place where Getz is now as a performer, barring further lucky breaks, remains your neighborhood coffeehouse. Fifteen years is a long, long time to have persevered in that purgatory.

"I just believe in what I'm doing," she said. "I have faith enough in the talents that I've been given and the songs I've been able to write. I would like to be further on right now, but you need to be patient. And, one hopes, good things come to those who wait."

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Los Angeles Times

March 15, 1997

"Apollo": Melodies of a Pop Goddess

*** 1/2

Kerry Getz

"Apollo"

(World in Motion Records)

If "Apollo" gets the blessing of the adult alternative-radio gods, Kerry Getz will be one of the format's new heroines. Her long-delayed debut release is beautifully arranged collaboration between a mature, assured artist with a great sense of melody and an array of excellent local players contributing everything from gleaming pianos to haunting accordions and strings. Getz's now-dusky, now-airy voice can power a dark rock ballad like "Let Me Out," dance lightly on the folk-jazz breeze of "Devil and the Deep Blues" or ladle out the Bangles-like pure-pop sweets of "I Could Fall for You." Slickness and overstatement are the dangers in polished recordings such as this, but Getz avoids those pitfalls with nuanced phrasing, concise writing and deep emotional commitment. Her songs are mainly unanswered prayers for love, peace of mind, artistic inspiration and spiritual connection, but collectively they should answer the prayers of anybody seeking a classy new singer-songwriter for grown ups.

-Mike Boehm

ratings range from * (poor) to **** (excellent) with three stars denoting a solid recommendation.

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