Sometimes a whisper can say more than all the shouting in the world. Skylar Gudasz writes subtly evocative, quietly powerful songs, and she performs them with an understated authority that resonates deeply in the listener's soul. The 26-year-old Durham, NC-based artist's sublimely expressive voice and effortlessly enchanting compositions disarm cynicism and defy easy categorization, embodying a timeless blend of worldly insight and open-hearted innocence.
Although she's yet to release a record, Skylar has already won considerable international acclaim, thanks in part to her spellbinding performances as part of the all-star touring Big Star Third tribute concerts, with which she's appeared in such far-flung locales as New York, Chicago, London, Sydney and Barcelona, as well as at the SXSW music festival in Austin, TX. As an unsigned unknown sharing the stage with such notable artists as Ray Davies, Robyn Hitchcock, Sharon Van Etten and members of R.E.M. and Wilco, she commanded the attention of fans and critics, as well as her fellow performers. The Sydney Morning Herald called her "the most impressive figure of the night," while the shows' musical director Chris Stamey noted, "She'd sing 'Thirteen' or 'Dream Lover,' and time would stop." Indeed, the response she received from live crowds was so profound that it soon became known among her tourmates as "the Skylar effect."
Her breakout performances in the Big Star concerts convinced Stamey (known for his work as a solo artist and with the dB's, as well as his production for the likes of Ryan Adams and Alejandro Escovedo) to take Skylar into the recording studio to cut an album's worth of her songs, tapping the talents of noted avant-garde clarinetist Ken Vandermark, southern pop godfather Mitch Easter, Brad Cook of Megafaun, Michael Blair (Elvis Costello, Tom Waits), Casey Toll (Mt. Moriah), and several talented young musicians from the fertile Chapel Hill alt-pop scene. They recorded the tracks live in the studio, then added artfully understated chamber-music arrangements that showcase Skylar's singular voice and hauntingly eloquent, poetic compositions. The resulting recordings mark Skylar Gudasz as both a unique talent and a major artist in the making.