Sing Out! Magazine
May 19, 2016 Ron Olesko
& WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS Playlist for May 15, 2016
Honesty and challenge are two factors that Marci Geller used to her advantage to create a masterpiece of a CD with her latest release Square Peg. A songwriter whose profile has been rising in recent years, Marci writes catchy tunes, heartfelt lyrics and employs her stunning voice to deliver a mesmerizing collection of songs. Marci visited my show this week to share the songs and the story of how this came to be.
While Square Pegs contains some very personal songs, Marci makes each song relatable to the listener. The songs celebrate many facets of love including some difficult topics such as bumping into former lovers, rejecting suitors, ending relationships and maintaining a distant relationship. There are also songs such as “Only Love Matters” (sung with guest David Buskin), that offers a reminder about the power of love. Expressions of pain and joy and ultimately hope.
The CD was crowd sourced through a Kickstarter campaign. The honesty that Marci displayed in this campaign, as well as her talent, led to raising 130% of the goal. As part of the process, she invited her backers to watch live video feeds of the CD being recorded in the studio. The resulting CD proves that her fans and backers were well rewarded for their faith.
In the campaign, Marci explained the significance of the CD’s title, Square Peg. Marci revealed that she felt isolated when growing up. In my interview with Marci, she recalled spending time alone during middle school, sitting in the schoolyard by herself and picking out pieces of smooth glass that she found in a rock bed by the school. While the other kids would play with Barbie dolls or join in games, Marci was more interested in books, music and silent contemplation. This introspection helped nurture her creativity, and today we see the results.
The release of the CD itself was delayed due to a massive flood that wiped out her in-home recording studio, followed by her father suffering two heart attacks. He has recovered, and so has Marci, and we now have the CD. Besides these challenges, the majority of the songs on Square Pegs are also the results of challenges of the creative type.
Over the course of the past few years, Marci participated in several “song challenges” including the Fearless Songwriters Challenge, the Kerrville Songwriters Breakfast challenge, Jack Hardy’s Songwriter Exchange and others. These “challenges” are creative exercises where songwriters are given a topic or a source of inspiration and asked to write a song within an allotted time frame. The late Jack Hardy often stressed how important it was for a songwriter to keep writing songs on a regular basis, and the conditioning required to maintain a rigorous schedule would help the artist improve their work. Challenges like the ones Marci participated in often involve discussion among the songwriters who participate, opening up new insights. These challenges, with self-imposed deadlines, push the songwriter to look beyond their comfort level by offering new inspiration and exposing the craft of creating songs in a new light. The artist often is required to post their creations online. The results can be mixed, but as in Marci’s case, gems are often uncovered through this process.
Ron Olesko and Marci Geller
One of my favorite cuts on Square Pegs is a product of the Fearless Songwriters Challenge. The evocative song called “She Was Happy Then” was inspired by an image of the famous Childe Hassam painting “Boston Commons at Twilight.” The participants of the challenge were given this image, and at first the 1880s painting stumped Marci. After studying the work, she focused on the woman in the painting who is seen holding a child’s hand. Marci began imagining what that woman’s life and thoughts were at that moment and she created this lovely song in less than an hour.
Another memorable cut is “Forgotten Dreams,” a song that came from a Kerrville Folk Festival sponsored songwriters breakfast challenge that was held at a Folk Alliance conference. The participants were asked to pull a slip of paper from a box and write a song. Written on Marci’s slip were the words “Forgotten Dreams.” While thinking about the words, Marci began thinking of images of a person transitioning to the other side, while friends and family kept holding this person here on our earthly plain. Marci created this song and performed it on the final day of the conference. When she arrived home, she learned that her close friend and friend of the folk community, Steve Minnisale, was in the process of transitioning. Marci firmly believes that Steve’s spirit sent her the images that nurtured the creation of this song. The song was also covered by Mya Byrne on her CD As I Am.
Marci is joined by a number of her friends and folk community mainstays on this recording. The first cut, “Save Me,”features legendary singer-songwriter Lori Lieberman on backing vocals. This song grew out of Marci dealing with a case of SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) after a particularly long winter. David Buskin joins Marci for the song “Only Love Matters.” An earlier recording of this song appeared on the reality show Celebrity Rehab as background to actor Gary Busey opening up about his issues.
In addition to Lori Lieberman and David Buskin, other guest artists appearing on Square Peginclude Mya Byrne, Barbara Kessler, Craig Akin, Brian Dunne from Hall & Oates and Jon Preddice from Miles To Dayton. Conductor/arranger Paul Michael Barkan added his touch to several cuts, along with a well-placed string quartet to round out the sound on this diverse collection of songs.
Click below to hear Ron Olesko’s interview with Marci Geller discussing Square Pegs.
Originally broadcast on WFDU-FM’s TRADITIONS on May 15, 2016
@Stijntsje is gek!
This is from the Netherlands. Actual review is HERE
Er zijn indie-artiesten die niet bij een grote platenmaatschappij onder contract staan maar hun werk via kleine, meer eigenzinnige labels uitbrengen. En er zijn indie-artiesten die het helemaal zelf doen, inclusief de distributie van hun werk. De uit New York afkomstige singer-songwriter Marci Geller behoort tot die laatste categorie, en met het deze week verschenen Square Peg brengt ze haar vierde album uit. Een album dat (voorlopig) enkel via haar eigen website verkrijgbaar is, als cd of als mp3-download. Maar voor de liefhebber van liedjesmakers in de beste 70's-traditie (denk aan Carole King, James Taylor, Carly Simon en Jackson Browne) mag dat geen belemmering zijn, want er zit niet één zwakke broeder tussen de nummers op dit via een Kickstarter-campagne gefinancierde album.
Vanaf openingsnummer Save Me, met achtergrondzang van de in Nederland bij een select publiek zeer geliefde Lori Lieberman, serveert Geller twaalf mooi uitgebalanceerde ballads. Ingehouden vertolkt door Geller en haar begeleiders en voorzien van een bescheiden productie die haar flexibele alt alle ruimte geeft. Soms klinkt het folky, zoals in het met subtiel tegendraadse strijkers gelardeerde Strong, het lekker zweverige Back Around en Sally Knows. Soms poppy, wat vooral goed werkt in het speelse I Just Love You en het reeds genoemde Save Me. En in één geval, het fraaie Forgotten Dreams, puur country. Maar het prijsnummer is de tegelijk ontroerende en troostende pianoballad Only Love Matters, met een refrein dat onmiddellijk tot meezingen uitnodigt. Dat nummer op zich is al ruimschoots reden genoeg om Square Peg in huis te halen. Dus dat moeten we gewoon even doen, met z'n allen.
Upfront NY Interview
Marci Geller Interview
JANUARY 7, 2016 BY KERRY LINK to online version
Marci Geller is a singer – songwriter based in Long Island. Marci has performed on Live! with Regis, Good Day NY, and Fox Morning Show, and her music can be heard in soundtracks on several television stations including MTV, VH1, ABC Family, and many others.
After setting up a Kickstarter, Marci’s fifth album, Square Peg was backed by fans eager to her the new album.
We recently got a chance to interview Marci about her music, new album, and her upcoming CD Release Party.
upfrontNY: Can you tell us about your new album Square Peg?
Marci Geller: Sure! It’s my fourth indie-released CD on the label I co-own Sonic Underground. I am very proud of this particular CD in that I let go of all the “rules” and allowed the songs to dictate what direction they wanted to go in. It also features duets with two legends that I admire so greatly; David Buskin and Lori Lieberman.
upfrontNY: How would you describe the sound of your music? Eclectic.
Marci Geller: I think I have a very classical/jazz ooted base that I build on. My primary instrument is piano, so I love big, lush chords. I play guitar for the first time on this CD which enabled me to explore more groove-centric possibilities, and I love what came out of me! I’ve been told by many that my songs “sound like they belong in the movies” which is pretty wonderful, since I am always trying to paint a scene with my music.
upfrontNY: Do you have a favorite song from the album?
Marci Geller: It depends on what day it is! LOL! I liken it to asking a Mother which child is her favorite. It really does change. Some days I think “Would You Still Believe?” is the best song I’ve ever written. Then I think “Save Me” is so simple and to the point. “I Just Love You” harkens back to Bacharach/Carole King…I really can’t pinpoint a favorite as much as what is feeling good at the moment.
upfrontNY: How has using Kickstarter for your new album helped you connect with your fans?
Marci Geller: In an enormous way. I was so blown away by the generosity and enthusiasm. I really felt like we were this team trying to get to a goal. It was a very humbling experience.
upfrontNY: Throughout your career, and all you have accomplished, has there been an experience that stands out in your mind?
Marci Geller: Oh there are several. One is performing on Live! With Regis. It was both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. It also had a very significant impact on my career. I think the other stand out moment was the first time I opened for Blackmore’s Night in Italy. I performed solo for over 10,000 people who didn’t even speak the same language as me. You could hear a pin drop until I finished each song and there was this literal roar of applause. It nearly knocked me off of my bench. Of course, after every show I do I always say to myself “That was DEFINITELY the best show ever!” I guess that’s why I still love it so much, and why I’m still making music.
upfrontNY: What can you fans expect from your CD-Release party taking place on January 17th?
Marci Geller: First off, the concert space is spectacular. I’m so thankful to Frank & Camille’s Kawai/Shigeru Concert Space for hosting the event. I’m playing an $80,000.00 hand-crafted Shigeru Grand piano. The band is made up of monster musicians who I respect so much; Marshal Rosenberg on percussion, Jack Knight on Bass, Anthony Pomes on guitar, John Tabacco on secondary keys and b/u vocals, my former bandmate Susan DeVita on b/u vocals, and then we have the string quartet: Andrew & Rebecca Perea, Margaret Kwon, Matthew Pierce and Paul Michael Barkan conducting. We will also have a special guest: David Buskin who will be singing the duet with me for Only Love Matters. Oh…and there’s a wine and cheese reception. I think it’s going to be a pretty special evening.
upfrontNY: What are you looking forward to in 2016?
Marci Geller: I’m looking forward to connecting with more listeners, making more music, and truly sending out good energy. I think we have so much hate and conflict on our planet right now. I think music and art can be used as common ground to help us heal. Learn more about Marci.
Nor'Easter Entertainment Magazine Review
Country Music Magazine
Writer at SoundWaveOne
" MAKING THE SQUARE PEG FIT"
April 8, 2016
As far as the album, that just doesn't fit, so to speak, the latest work showcasing Marci Geller called "Square Peg" her fifth album has sounds that fill your ears with roots of folk and does fit. The album really just makes good sense and seems to showcase Marci where she seems to focus around Love and relationship issues, not that that matters.
Throughout the album all the songs tell a story. It seems as if Marci is telling a story about parts of her life in one twelve song album. The song that really got me hooked was the song called "Forgotten Dreams", where I really heard a lot of her real talent brought to life through song and great lyrical content.
This Album keeps a positive, and reflective approach on all the songs. Square peg is poetry in motion through out the albums entirety. The acoustic guitar and piano that are featured are supreme sounding and make the album really come together nicely.
It shows and paints a vivid picture of "Love only Matters" and maintains this theme throughout. Marci and her vocals really make a twist on folk, and has a tale to tell. With this album she projects her emotion and feelings behind all the songs.
This album tells a story and the story is very positive and reinforces that along the way. I look forward to hearing more from Marci in the future and thank her for allowing me to be part of her musical journey.
Steven F. Adams
c 2016 used by permission
Writer at International Country Music Magazine
“Square Peg” CD
Marci Geller is one of those musicians, who after listening to her, one would feel that you've been listening to her music for years. She can be mysterious, but playful, she can have a serious side and she can exude happiness all in the same breath. She uses the power of her songwriting talents, her powerful vocals and those signature melodies to grab the listener and hold them captive. She has received many kudos from many sources including the Independent Songwriter magazine and has appeared on many different shows and TV outlets in her career. She also toured for 2 years with legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's Folk-Renaissance Band and has shared the stage with countless other musical luminaries.
This 12-track CD, “Square Peg” features renowned musicians including Lori Leiberman, David Buskin, Mya Byrne, Barbara Kessler, Craig Akin, Brian Dunne from hall & Oates and Jon Preddice from Miles To Dayton. The list of contributing musicians on this LP are as long as my arm and include many well-known players.
The CD opens with “Save Me” feat. Lori Leiberman, a faith-based track that captures you from the door. “I'm Not Yours Yet” is a fun-sounding ditty in the mold of a Joni Mitchell with a Midwest feel. Marci's vox are dominating and the harmonies tight and precise. “She Was Happy Then” takes you to Marci's serious side with this old-country sound where we hear the strings nicely compliment this tune. “Strong” sends a powerful message through this lyrical masterpiece. The country overtones with the slide steel are refreshing. “Forgotten Dreams” is a faith-based number that gets deep into Marci's feelings. This reminds me of Natalie Grant. “Back Around” gives me a feeling of listening to some down-home country. This upbeat retro-sounding track is so fun to listen to!
“I Just Love You” evokes memories of days gone by. I like the pop this tune has to it and the hook is infectious. The simple composure makes this track jump out at the listener. “Only Love Matters'” feat. David Buskin hears David and Marci with some awesome harmonies that make this one of the best on this LP. “Nearly” comes from the heart as we hear Marci go all out. The story behind this is probably some event she has experienced in her life! “Sally Knows” takes you to a place that one hardly ventures into. The passion behind the tune is overwhelming. “Won't You Stay” is so very touching. It gives the listener the feeling of being there as she describes her experience. The final track, “Would You Still Believe” is so Carole King. The composition, vocal deflection and style are a total match with this legendary singer.
Marci Geller's ability to jump from Faith-Based to Country-Influenced to Roots to Folk-Renaissance is remarkable. Her powerful, angelic voice hypnotizes one instantly. The artistic and poetic lyrics, the expert musicianship and the creative compositions are magnificent. The guest artists on this effort offer some much talent and creativity that this effort should jump on to the charts with little effort. I can see this CD crossing over into many different formats easily.
This CD is a MUST LISTEN!! I give this a hearty STANDING OVATION!! Well Done!
Review by Michael McKenna – Nor'easter Entertainment Magazine —