Just Me This Year, Rachael & Vilray

RACHAEL & VILRAY have been a musical act ever since Rachael Price saw Vilray play a very short set of covers and said she wanted in. In the years since they began, their configuration has ranged from an intimate duo, to the 9-piece formation heard on their newest album, ‘I Love A Love Song!’
No matter the set-up on stage, friends Rachael and Vilray sing right to each other, tell stories about how these original songs came to be, and relate them to the many old love songs they love to love.

Just Me This Year, Rachael & Vilray

The duo Rachael & VilrayLake Street Dive singer/songwriter Rachael Price and the guitarist/singer/songwriter Vilray—return with “Just Me This Year,” written by Vilray, about the pleasures of spending the winter holidays alone after a welcome romantic breakup. “For those who happen to be going it alone this time of year, we’re here to help you embrace the freedom!” said Vilray.

DownBeat said of Rachael & Vilray’s 2019 self-titled debut that the two “proffer a way of connecting not-quite-the-past with not-quite-the-present, resulting in a timeless quality,” and NPR said, “She can sing anything; he can play anything … Tin Pan Alley meets the Lower East Side in a smoky bar, in songs with a twist of humor.” Rachael & Vilray’s next album will come in 2023 (details to be announced soon). They will perform at New York City’s storied Carlyle Hotel over the Thanksgiving weekend, on Friday and Saturday, November 25 and 26.

Price and Vilray began performing together in 2015, although they first met in 2003 as students at the New England Conservatory of Music. Vilray formed a couple of bands with Price’s soon-to-be bandmates in Lake Street Dive. Price recalls he had a nimble mind and quick wit when it came to lyrics. But, she says, “I didn’t know that Vilray and I shared a love of this particular time period of jazz.”

It was more than a decade later that Price and Vilray began to collaborate. She had been on the road much of each year with Lake Street Dive and he had been developing his own solo act, just voice and guitar.

Price remembers her first time sitting in with Vilray vividly: “He gave me one of his songs to learn. No one knew it wasn’t a standard. That got the ball rolling for him on the writing. He started sending me songs constantly. We quickly went from peppering in his songs with obscure ones from the thirties and forties to all Vilray songs.”

The duo performed two songs from their debut album on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, joined by Jon Batiste and Stay Human, in 2020: “At Your Mother’s House” and “Do Friends Fall in Love.”

Rachael & Vilray say of the video, “It’s the week before Christmas and a lot is stirring in this house. Don’t let our mouse-y character fool you. A little holiday breakup hasn’t gotten her down. Enjoy this illustration of a city mouse enjoying all the holiday joy and freedoms of her newly acquired single-ness. Alone or with all her new rodent friends, she’s making the most of being alone this season.”

Combining Rachael Price’s singular voice with Vilray’s knack for songwriting, I Love a Love Song! showcases Rachael & Vilray’s evolution, pushing them to a new level as they jump ahead in vision and drive. The duo has deeply absorbed the work from their jazz predecessors, taking the best of the past and creating something new.

Recorded at United Recording in Los Angeles, the twelve-track album was produced, engineered and mixed by Dan Knobler (Allison Russell) and features arrangements from Jacob Zimmerman. All songs were written by Vilray except for the 1930’s classic “Goodnight My Love,” which was written by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel.

Episode #357

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