Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Laura Nyro (1947-1997) was one of the most remarkable popular music artists of the late 20th century - a pioneering singer-songwriter whose songs were beloved both in their original performances and in successful cover versions by the Fifth Dimension, Barbra Streisand, Three Dog Night, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Nyro had two audiences--a cult following that adored her high-priestess persona and whisper-to-a-scream vocals, and mainstream music fans who might have been unaware of Nyro herself but happily sung along with "Wedding Bell Blues," "Stoney End," "Eli's Comin'" and "And When I Die." Nyro's influence is cited by multiple generations of famous fans, from Todd Rundgren and Rickie Lee Jones to Fiona Apple and Jenny Lewis.

Season Of Lights…Laura Nyro In Concert (originally released 1977) documents Nyro's triumphant return to the stage after half a decade in self-imposed artistic exile. Joining Nyro is a nine-piece band led by jazz players John Tropea, Richard Davis, and Mike Mainieri, who add inspired new textures to a set spanning her first decade (1966-1976) as a writer and performer. Additionally, Nyro delivers several breathtaking solo performances accompanied only by her piano. Nyro conceived Season Of Lights as a double live album, but Columbia Records released it in 1977 as a 10 song single LP. Iconoclassic Records' reissue restores the set to its intended 16 song length. This deluxe, expanded CD blends signature tracks from Nyro's early period ("And When I Die," "Sweet Blindness," "Emmie") with songs from her then-current studio release Smile and exclusive material like "The Morning News" which was never recorded in the studio and appears only here. Blurt praises Iconoclassic's "more complete encapsulation of Nyro's performance prowess, an album that rivals Joni Mitchell's stunning Miles Of Aisles in terms of its jazz/rock synthesis."

Season Of Lights includes over 75 minutes of music remastered by Grammy® Award winning engineer Vic Anesini and new liner notes by Michele Kort, author of the definitive Laura Nyro biography Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro. raves, "Iconoclassic Records has beautifully remastered the album and presented it in its full glory . . . In a year that has offered beautiful reissues from the likes of Dennis Wilson (Pacific Ocean Blue) and Otis Redding (Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul), this album rises to the top of the list."

Nyro followed the live Season Of Lights with the 1978 studio set Nested, her eighth album. The richly autobiographical Nested focuses lyrically on impending motherhood, her up-and-down love life, music business greed, and the nature of the universe. A more intimate sound marks a departure from her acclaimed early work and spotlights instrumental contributions from John Sebastian (The Lovin' Spoonful), Felix Cavaliere (The Rascals), and Vinnie Cusano (KISS's Vinnie Vincent). Record Collector praises this "belated CD release for a pivotal record" noting that Nested is "an important album for marking out the direction of Nyro's future writing, the precocious talent of those first records fully blossoming into an older, wiser woman observing the world with wry detachment." Largely ignored or misunderstood upon initial release, Nested can now be heard as the fulcrum on which her early and later career pivoted.

Iconoclassic's 30th anniversary reissue of Nested adds an incisive 1,200 word essay by Kort and additional photographs of Nyro by acclaimed fashion photographer Adger W. Cowans, who shot the original album cover.

Season Of Lights…Laura Nyro In Concert and Nested are available in stores and online now.

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