Reviews

Album Review: Traveling Songs

“An album is a guided presentation of a story. Even if the listener has no idea about the destination, the map has a line and the road follows the bard’s voice. We, the ones living outside the storyteller’s head, can wander down the path and explore the story.  Traveling Songs lets you jump the border and dive into the uncharted, wild terrain of SJ’s imagination. Traveling Songs gives us the opportunity to throw the map away and listen to a pure, undiluted year’s worth of S. J.’s musical creations.”

Jessica Halsey, writer


Album Reviews: Stolen Season

“Stolen Season [has the sort of] masterful arrangement of instruments, amazing storyteller lyrics and the powerful vocals that Sooj’s fans have come to expect, but it has a bit of a darker feel. The haunting lyrics speak of personal empowerment and retaining yourself even in matters of the heart. The slow Southern Blues sound with a hint of Jazz thrown in for flavor makes me think of smoky speakeasies and warm summer nights. Stolen Season remains true to the fairytale nature of Sooj’s lyrical stories while adding a rawness and depth of emotion that, while not absent in previous albums, was not nearly as present there as it is here.”

–Sabrina Leah, Auditory Addiction

 

“S. J. Tucker mixes Joni Mitchell, M. R. James, Led Zeppelin, Sandy Denny and Grimm’s Fairy tales. Her music is rich in imagery, considering the influences. Each track has its own story and vibe.  This is an album you can get lost in if you put in the time.”

thisyearinmusic, West London


Audiobook Review: The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland

“I absolutely fell in love with S. J. Tucker’s performance of this novel. She has a rich exotic voice, with a bit of spice that perfectly fed into the otherworldly magic of the novel…I have always said, when talking about audiobooks, that readers can hear a smile; yet, with S. J. Tucker’s performance you can hear the shades of the narrator’s grin from the sly smile to the devilish Cheshire.”

-Bob Reiss, The Gilded Earlobe


Concert Reviews

“One of the foremost songwriters in the world of cabaret, Mythpunk, Faerie, Pagan, and general kickassery, S. J. has released over ten albums and isn’t stopping anytime soon!  If you like silly, sweet, fierce, funny, magical, mythical music, then S. J. Tucker is sure to enchant you.”

WickedFaire.com

 

“To say I have a special place in my heart for SJ Tucker would be an understatement of high degree. Over the years, we have found ourselves on many of the same music circuits, sharing many stages and songs. We have inspired each other’s songwriting, and she has even appeared to me in a dream, encouraging me to step fully onto the path of the wandering minstrel…SJ Tucker is also an outstanding live performer. I recommend seeing her the first chance you get.”

Sharon Knight

 

“Like the hybrid offspring of Bugs Bunny and Doctor Who, S. J. Tucker popped up through a hole in the ground at Life Force Arts Center this past Sunday. After lamenting that it wasn’t Pismo Beach (she’d taken the right turn out of Albuquerque, it seems) she pulled a guitar out from behind someone’s ear and proceeded to play, after reaching down into the hole and pulling up a conveniently located cellist.  At least that’s how it seemed. The singer-songwriter may not have burrowed up through the ground, but she had just come off of performing and teaching at MuseCon for three days. A performer of a lesser caliber of madness and moxie would have called it at that, but Tucker is in fact a Jedi Ninja Princess.”

–Greg Baldino, Chicago: Streaking Ninjas, Stealth Cello, and Salad of Doom

 

“S J Tucker has a strong voice and engaging presence. [She] can bring something interesting to the local scene and is well worth keeping an eye on.”

Chris Herrington

“Moment of Truth”, The Memphis Flyer

 

“Tucker has a voice in a million — powerful, hypnotic, untamed and yet utterly controlled. She sings from the gut, but hers is a trained instrument.”

Maria Nutick

Green Man Review, August 15, 2004, review of July 30 concert in Portland OR

 

“S J Tucker is rather potent. Coming across like a fiery hybrid of Kristin Hersh and Fiona Apple and sometimes madly thrashing at her guitar, Tucker delivers a surprisingly energetic set. …Impressive vocal control, sometimes running up the scale or jumping an octave here and there.”

Kevin Renick

Backstage Pass, Playback (St. Louis)

 

“You’ve got to love S J Tucker, the songstress who boldly strode onstage and competed against full bands—one woman, one guitar—no fear, no regrets. She has a lot of spunk and a lot to say.”

Kelley Bass

“In Tune”, Arkansas Times (Little Rock)


Album Reviews

“The first five songs on Wonders start out with Sooj’s signature style; whimsical, playful, and with the air of a wandering circus about them. She is an accomplished singer, and one of the most distinctive things about her work is her multi-layered harmonies…The music switches gears by the sixth song, “Glashtyn Shanty.” Dark, haunting, and powerful, this one was my favorite. An otherworldly sea shanty, the song shows you the murky mist-shrouded waters, no doubt under some curse, as the blackened barge ferries you across to some uncertain fate. “Little Skylark (the Worsted Wood)” is an ethereal lullaby with lyrics written by Cat Valente, wherein a young girl attempts to lull her own death to sleep. “September Morning Bell” is a spoken piece that reads like a spell amidst cellos, guitar, and synth glockenspiel. This is followed up by “The Great Velocipede Migration”, an instrumental, medieval sounding romp. This one reminded me a great deal of Frenchy and the Punk, a touring duo we both have shared the stage with several times. “Not the Villian” is very evocative of Tori Amos. Spoken from the point of view of the nemesis, it features Sooj’s signature whimsy, but takes a turn for the melancholic and introspective. Staying with the melancholy feel, the penultimate song, “For Iago” reminds us that “even double agents and cats of dubious alignment have someone who loves them very much. The last song on the album, “Little Skylark (safe at home)” is another lullaby for September now that she has returned safely home form Fairyland.  Wonders is an enchanting journey through fairytale and adventure, delivered with all the charm and wit and lilting harmony that captures S. J. Tucker fans’ hearts album after album.”

-Sharon Knight, Coreopsis Journal, San Francisco, CA

 

“The new album is called Wonders and is everything that you would expect from S. J. Tucker and the musicians that help her create an eclectic and whimsical sound.  In many ways Wonders leaves us all wondering a bit and really looking at the world a little differently…Everyone from the first time listener to children, elderly, long time fans and everyone in between will find enjoyment in S. J.’s lyrics and music from start to finish.”

-Heather Marseillan, The Tacoma ExaminerTacoma, WA

 

“SJ Tucker, the archetypal Celtic myth-punk, conquers a lot of new territory on the Ember Days soundtrack, and takes no prisoners. From ferocious “Earthling”-era David Bowie drum’n’bass sounds to the hallucinatory otherworldliness of didgeridoo and overtone flutes, this is both an unexpected departure from her previous body of work and a bold and exciting new direction. I can’t wait to hear what comes next!”

Ben Deschamps, Amphis Music, Toronto

 

“On March 5th singer-songwriter S.J. Tucker released the soundtrack she composed, produced, and performed for the micro-budget fantasy epic Ember Days. Known largely for her folk-based material, Tucker uses the project as a way to experiment and grow as a composer, dipping into neo-tribal, electronic, and industrial sounds. The results are refreshing. The listener is opened to depths only hinted at in previous albums; a darker sonic tapestry that Tucker obviously enjoys playing in. Tucker, an artist who usually exudes joy and a fey sense of fun, drops the smiles here to excellent effect on tracks like “We Were Angels Once (Wake The Fallen)” and “We Are Shangri – La (Emerald City Mix).” In addition, we are reminded through the many instrumental tracks that Tucker can write compelling arrangements without having to rely on her able and road-tested voice.

-Jason Pitzl-Waters, Wildhunt.org: S. J. Tucker, Ember Days, and Pushing the Boundaries of Pagan Music

 

“SJ Tucker’s original music for Ember Days is deep, dark, and soul evocative. There is an eerie quality to all of the songs and a heart wrenching emotional pull from the driving beat that grows teeth and claws. This is a blending of different genres and a definite branching out from her previous work. SJ’s fans will find much to love in the soundtrack both as accompaniment to the movie and as a stand-alone album.”
-Sherry Kirk, Producer, Ember Days

 

“Singer/songwriters take note, this is what you should be doing and how you should sound.”

J-Sin, review of Tangles

Smother.net Editor’s Pick

 

“She’s got Dar [Williams]’s sardonic sincerity coupled with Janis Ian’s vocal chops and the deft guitar hands of Emily Saliers. Her lyrics swell up from the underworld, where so many artists venture but which few truly understand.”

Phil Brucato

NewWitch magazine, review of Haphazard

 

Usually I would worry (I took 4 years to put out my first CD because everything had to be radio ready and perfect) when someone said they were LACKING in PRODUCTION, but THIS is LACKING of NOTHING! Her voice, her stories, her incredible guitar playing, and fun just blew me away. I felt like I was in a live concert at Living room or a coffee house.

singer-songwriter Kama Linden

FemMuse.Com, review of Haphazard

 

“First off, she can honestly sing like Joni Mitchell, no lie. With a swirl of acoustic strumming to back her, Tucker lets her most important instrument shine, that rich, sophisticated soprano voice of hers, one that would have landed such impressive originals as ‘Face-down’ and ‘Heart Beat’ on Blue back in 1971.”

Bill Ellis, Memphis

Commercial Appeal, review of Haphazard


Accolades from Authors

“Tucker is not only fantastic; she’s like a character out of a fantasy novel. She weaves myth and magic into her lyrics as easily as a strain of cello, a lick of something electric, the chuffing of a train engine…Tucker has a knack – no, a genius – for weaving old ways with new.”

C. S. E. Cooney, blackgate.com

 

“I am impressed by Tucker’s artistry, by her musical abilities and inspiration. But I am amazed by the power of her presentation. Her performance puts me in mind of a leopard, small but exotic, and of the play of her muscles — hidden, but evident in the flow of sinew beneath her coat.”

Andrea Jones, author of  Hook & Jill


Studio Praise

“As humble and self-effacing as they come, S. J. Tucker laid down [four] hypnotically melodic songs in Studio B for a demo release. Backed by the multi-layered rhythm section of local favorites, Stout, S. J. offers to us a variety of sonic emotion not often captured on tape.”
Memphis Records
In the Studio
“I can’t say enough good things about the little woman with the big voice. She sings from the heart and to the soul. Her lyrics are powerful, and her music, ethereal.”
Memphis Records
In the Studio