Tag Archives: new release

Eclectic and Intriguing, Grace VanderWaal Returns with New Music!

Rating: ★★★★★

 ec·lec·tic   /əˈklektik/

adjective

  1. deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

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Eclectic. It’s a word that distills the very essence of singer/songwriter Grace VanderWaal into a single definition—if that’s even possible. To those who have followed this young lady since her rise from YouTube vid kid to international musical acclaim, she’s simply a breath of fresh air in a world of sound-alike pop pablum.

“Stray,” VanderWaal’s latest single and video, pairs Grace’s raspy vocal with a lush, jangly guitar riff that sends this new music in a direction much different from her previous work. And this is a good thing. It’s a sign of maturity and of a fresh approach—rather than an attempted re-capturing of what has already been accomplished.

Her words are poetic and cautionary, filled with real and raw emotion. An undertow of fear and urgency is detectable just below the surface of her mournful voice. The anxiety of growing into an adult and facing a world of uncertainty is a central theme the singer has discussed in recent interviews.

“’Stray’ is close to me,” she explained. “Not because it’s the re-start of my continuing path, but because it explains the exhilarating fear and freedom of growing up. Growing up feels like a storm you weren’t prepared for. But how do you prepare? By practicing and appreciating you.”

Her lyrics in “Stray” illustrate a fear of losing that one thing that has brought her this far: songwriting.

I gotta write a song

But I wanna feel my words

And I keep getting it all wrong

Think it out, write it out, rip it out

Throw it all to the wall

To be certain, this fear is unfounded. She hasn’t lost a step in the songwriting process. If anything, she’s unveiled a greater prowess in crafting melodies and moods and words within her music.

The video for “Stray” is a gorgeous visual steeped in creamy, earthy tones splashed across a canvas of loneliness, longing, and desperation. The desert setting finds Grace, garbed in a long flowing dress and barefoot, searching for something elusive and undefined—a yearning common to human beings since the beginning of time. Symbolism adds to the rich scenery, with VanderWaal riding a bike through desert scrub while blindfolded, adding to the narrative of, not only the song, but of its creator, and her incredible journey in just under three short years.

Director Blythe Thomas skillfully captures mood and vibe and real feeling with an artistry one would expect from a master filmmaker. Her partnership with Grace routinely produces stark and unforgettable results. If you aren’t familiar with the director’s work, I recommend you visit her website. CLICK HERE

The song itself is a haunting piece of guitar-driven beauty—which is something we don’t normally hear in Grace VanderWaal’s music. It is this driving guitar that adds an indie-rock element throughout the track. It stands in contrast to the “Clearly” single, released last March. And “Stray” would show out as markedly different among the tracks on her brilliant Just the Beginning album. This is what elevates her above the mechanical, formulaic pop singers inhabiting today’s musical landscape.

Grace’s music has soul. It has life. It sounds the way music is meant to sound—alive.

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Author Larry F. Hunter Releases New Novel

Reprinted from the Stanly News and Press, Dec 6, 2018

SNAP fishing contributor publishes crime novel

By Charles Curcio

Charles.Curcio@StanlyNewsPress.com

The laid-back atmosphere of retirement and RV life becomes overturned with one cellphone call in a book new-to-print by Larry F. Hunter.

Hunter, who writes a fishing column for The Stanly News & Press, brings his knowledge and experience on camping and RVs into a new forum, the mystery crime novel. New-in-print is his novel, The National Park Case: A Tucker Crime Novel.

The book was written a number of years ago and was available in electronic formats like Amazon after publishing with a California-based e-book distribution company.

However, that changed four months ago after Hunter had entered and won a regional short story contest with Fresh Ink Group (FreshInkGroup.com), who approached him to publish the novel.

“I had been wanting to write a book for years. I studied literature in school and read three to four books a week,” Hunter said.

The book took about seven months to finish, then he published it, saying, “It got me online, make a little money if possible, but it’s mostly to get experience.”

Having retired, Hunter had gone back to work, then retired again four months ago and got time to focus on the book. Among other things, Hunter was a technical writer and taught at the community college level on the Jamestown campus of Guilford Technical Community College in Greensboro. Hunter was also stationed at Cape Kennedy during the Apollo missions to the Moon. He worked as a maintenance tech for the ground control systems on Apollo 8 through 17.

The National Park Case is the first of three books written in the Tucker series, though not a true trilogy, Hunter said.

“I won’t go further (in the series); I’ve gotten to know the characters too well,” Hunter said.

The story finds Tucker, who was named after Hunter’s mother who was a Tucker, sitting in a chair outside his own RV. A retired Salisbury Police detective, his cellphone rings. He is recruited by the FBI to investigate missing persons cases from four national parks. The introduction of a beautiful female suspect and an investigation which starts in the Carolinas and spans across the Southeast drives the narrative of the story.

Aficionados of the recreational vehicle scene, or RVers, will be able to pick up on some subtleties others may not in the story, Hunter said. He added readers do not have to know about RV life to get the drift of the story.

As a retired RVer, Hunter said: “I’ve always believed you write about things you know.” He added though he was not a policeman, his character, a retired Salisbury Police Department detective, “figures out during the novel he really wasn’t retired; he was just not working for a while.”

Crime novels, mysteries and thrillers are a favorite of Hunter, he said. “You try to emulate what they do,” he explained.

Some of the things Hunter said he does not include in the crime novel are ideals which have dictated his reading choices in life. He said he does not like an illogical pattern to a story, like bringing in an unknown character at the end as the culprit.

Hunter also said he has a lead character with some flaws to a degree but not to the level of some others. To him, Tucker is “not really flawed, just a man in a bad situation.” His books also do not have “tons of characters.”

He describes The National Park Mystery as a procedural novel. “You may not know who did, but you can follow his thought process,” Hunter added.

Written in third person, Hunter said he initially started the novel in first person, but decided to change it. “How can he know what’s going on in a place when he wasn’t there?”

Copies of The National Park Case: A Tucker Crime Novel are available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon and other places, in both paperback and hardcover copy.

Continuing to write is something Hunter said he wants to do, including having finished a post apocalyptic novel. “I’m a science-fiction guy, so why not?” Hunter said.

He added his goal the morning after he retired was simple in his writing career.

“If one person buys it and gives it a good review, I’m happy. I just want to know I wrote a book and people enjoyed it.”

Contact Charles Curcio at charles.curcio@stanlynewspress. com, 704-983-1361 or via Twitter (@charles_curcio).

Copyright (c)2018 Albemarle Stanly News and Press, Edition 12/6/2018

VIEW THE NATIONAL PARK CASE BOOK TRAILER