Thursday 17 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Key master

Key master

Eliza Rickman may tickle the ivories on a toy piano, but her sound is anything like child’s play.

Joshua Boydston May 16th, 2012

Eliza Rickman
7 p.m. Saturday
Istvan Gallery
1218 N. Western

Eliza Rickman’s songs sound like a music box that plays a blend of Florence + The Machine and Danny Elfman’s scores for Tim Burton films, all thanks to her accidental secret weapon: a white toy piano.

“I actually started using it out of — debatably — either necessity or laziness,” Rickman said. “Most of the venues in L.A. don’t have pianos, and I was lugging around a god-awful, 90-pound keyboard. I took it with me to a coffee shop because it was a hell of a lot less trouble to transport than my keyboard. I didn’t even care what it sounded like.”

It proved to be more beneficial than the powerhouse singer imagined.

“I discovered that night that it complements my voice really well,” Rickman said. “Writing songs on it has forced me to have a more minimalist approach. I’ve had a ton of people tell me that the pairing of my voice with an antique toy piano is creepy, but I think it’s dainty and sweet. I’m all about dainty and sweet.”

That split-second decision shaped her burgeoning career. Her two albums showcase the chanteuse’s background in classical music and orchestration.

“I was an arranging major in school, and learned to orchestrate specifically for strings,” said Rickman, who plays a free show Saturday at Istvan Gallery. “Even the songs that don’t feature strings are intricately arranged, and I’m quite proud of that.”

Her charming brand of classically inspired chamber pop recalls Andrew Bird, PJ Harvey and Kate Bush. That touch of Gothic influence manifests itself in a poignant Nick Cave cover to close out her current CD.

“I think ‘Into My Arms’ is the best love song ever written, and I had to try my hand at it,” Rickman said. “I’m glad my recording of it seems to resonate very strongly with people.”

The emergence of effervescent singers nationally surely aids her ascension through the indie-music ranks, even if she’s blissfully unaware of the fact.

“I’ve actually never thought about that. It totally makes sense to me, but I’ve been kind of in my own little world, musically, for about 10 years,” she said. “I’m a bit oblivious to what all is out there. I’m still listening to my Siouxsie and the Banshees records.”

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