Saint Bernadette to play CMJ gig at NYC’s Highline Ballroom this weekend. Band premiers the mysterious video for “Sidestep” from its debut album In The Ballroom — recorded live in Bridgeport’s abandoned Bijou Theatre.
Two additional EPs (including one of obscure duets by Morrissey & Siouxsie Sioux among others) set for release in 2008.
“The debut album from Connecticut’s Saint Bernadette hits the sort of notes and touches that make me weak in the knees, by expertly melding things I’m a sucker for: ballsy broads, smoke-filled jazz clubs, and, of course, the element of surprise.” — Sentimentalist Magazine
“The music on In The Ballroom, is seductive, eclectic, sophisticated and a natural fit for DiMenna’s superlative voice.” — Stamford Advocate
Saint Bernadette is celebrating the recent release of its debut album In The Ballroom by playing the CMJ Music Marathon this weekend at Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom on Saturday, October 20th. Filter Magazine will present the show and Saint Bernadette will serve as opening act to the Grammy award winning leader of Dirty Vegas, Steve Smith, who will be debuting songs from his upcoming solo debut. Saint Bernadette takes the stage at 12:30AM. The first video from In The Ballroom is now ready for consumption as well. The clip for “Sidestep” is a mysterious ride with a hot car through some murky and ominous fog.
In The Ballroom has already received much praise from the press — not only for the gorgeous pipes of singer Meredith DiMenna, but also for the unique sound of the record which was recorded live in the abandoned ballroom of Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Bijou Theatre (pictured on the album’s cover) in a marathon three-day recording session.
DiMenna, a professional vocalist by day — she is well-known as the voice of MTV’s “Chunky Pam” — gets to show off her personal side with Saint Bernadette, making beautiful, loungey music that harkens back to Motown or early Atlantic releases. To make In The Ballroom, DiMenna, and her husband, guitarist Keith “Touch” Saunders, put together the lineup that would appear on the record and went north to a small cabin in Vermont to learn and arrange the songs. Inspired and invigorated by the results, they began the search for the perfect recording location.
“We knew we wanted to record it live. Because of the instrumentation, the dynamics depend on a real-time push and pull between the different elements and we felt we couldn’t achieve that in an overdubbing situation,” says Saunders. “We really wanted the record to reflect the energy of a live show.”
Recent transplants to Bridgeport, DiMenna and Saunders found that a local redevelopment project, the historic Bijou Theatre, was hiding a large and beautiful ballroom circa 1908 on the second floor. The developers gave the band permission to use the space for five days – one each to load in, load out and three to record. The album was recorded completely live – with everyone in the same room at the same time. It was nearly non-stop recording, except on breaks to go to the bar next door and keep tabs on the World Cup. When recording was finished, the band took the record to Peter Katis (Interpol, The National, Mates of State, Tokyo Police Club) of Bridgeport-based Tarquin Studio.
“Not only is he in Bridgeport, which was important to us – we really wanted it to be a hometown effort – but he’s also really talented. Working with him in his studio was a great experience,” says DiMenna. Saunders adds, “We had to wait a few months for him because he was busy working on The National, which was so hard since we were so excited about the recording, but it was well worth the wait.”
In The Ballroom will be followed up by a pair of EPs in 2008. One, a new Saint Bernadette collection entitled I Wanna Tell You Something and another, a six-song collaboration with singer-songwriter Brian Grosz, a label mate of DiMenna’s. Interestingly, the second EP is a planned covers collection of some famous and not-so-famous duets from the past and present featuring tunes originally sung by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, Tom Waits & Crystal Gail, Morrissey & Siouxsie Sioux, Tricky & PJ Harvey, and Elvis & Ann Margaret.
Lastly, famed hip hop producers, Black Panther and Shaad Almighty have decided to put their own take on In The Ballroom and are working on remixes of the album tracks “Lay Me Down” and “Money In The Air”. More information on the remixes will be announced in the near future.
Saint Bernadette Live:
10/19 Bridgeport, CT Acoustic Cafe
10/20 New York, NY Highline Ballroom (CMJ)
10/23 New York, NY 11th Street Bar
10/30 New York, NY 11th Street Bar
11/17 Danbury, CT SUB ROSA/Cousin Larry’s
11/29 Knoxville, TN TBA
11/30 Athens, GA TBA
12/01 Asheville, NC Westville Pub
12/02 Philadelphia, PA TBA
12/11 New York, NY Piano’s
In The Ballroom Tracklisting:
Stream The Album HERE
Release Date: October 2, 2007