Allison Geddie is a refreshing change of pace. This local lady is a bit more than a gal with a guitar . . . but not way too much more. Indeed, free of an obvious political agenda, a chip on her shoulder or an inflated sense of importance, Geddie is garnering good reviews and a growing fan base.
Born in New York City, Geddie got into music early in life. By the time she was 12 she had already become interested in writing, playing and singing music. She was soon playing her father’s guitar to the likes of Rob Thomas, Ben Harper and Alanis Morisette. By the time she was 15 she had already secured her first gig at a Connecticut café.
Geddie adds: “When I was seventeen I played a song for a girl who was a few years older than me, and she had to leave the room because she was crying. . . I discovered that people can relate to my music, and I felt honored that someone really got my songs, that she was living inside of my words. I felt heard.”
After graduating from high school, Geddie studied art in New Zealand. Unable to be separated from her music she would go to Auckland where she would purchase her familiar blue Sonic acoustic guitar. Soon after, she would move to L.A. where she would study film production at LMU. Upon graduation she traveled to Germany where she would film a documentary on the lives of drug addicts and hookers living on the streets in Duesseldorf.
Her true love could not be denied, however, and her filmmaking career was soon set aside as she returned to Los Angeles to once more take up her guitar and resume a career in music. Geddie performs live and has opened for such varied acts as Tristan Prettyman, Justin Nozuka and Blue Öyster Cult and has also made three music videos. A regular on the L.A. club circuit, some of her songs have even been featured on ABC’s “The View”.
Not too long ago producer and songwriter Greg Critchley (Michelle Branch, Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana, High School Musical) went into the studio with Geddie to produce and add instrumentation to her 2009 debut disc, Everything You Don’t See. The opening cut, “Messed It Up Again”, quickly demonstrates her ability to create an interesting paradox of material that can be both light and airy and yet sometimes bluntly revelatory and solidly realistic in attitude. Her material is refreshing in that Geddie doesn’t go on record pointing the finger at everyone else: “I messed it up again/And don’t you try to mend/What I’ve done to you.” Throw in some noteworthy but not overwhelming work by guitarist/bassist Greg (Goo Goo Dolls) Suran here (and on four other cuts) and this takes critic’s choice.
The second selection is “Take A Shot”. One online critic nailed it suggesting that Geddie’s vocals and to some extent even her word work is comparable to Mieka Pauley. However, despite the relevant comparison she remains an individual in a track that also displays her talents as a composer as well. The track also demonstrates her ability and willingness to reveal her all too real vulnerability.
“Leave With Me” is the first obvious example that Geddie is attempting to create not only something true and real but also beautiful as well. The message here is wonderfully subtle in this day and age and the music even builds without obscuring the lyrics. This also includes Tina Guo’s cello and Mike (Nelly Furtado) Krompass’ guitar/bass which compliment signature sound acoustic guitar and sincere yet somehow sultry vocals. (This was a close second for critic’s choice. Your randy reporter just went with the less expected choice.)
Another probable future fan favorite is the extremely effective, self-effacing “Fixing Me”. This is a tune that almost anyone can relate to at one point or another. This ran a close second for critic’s choice and would make an excellent single due in part to life-reflecting lyrical lines such as: “It feels like life is just one long road/Of fixing me.”
Track five follows here. Titled “Walking Slow”, this pretty piece is fleshed out and made unique with the addition of Chris Marin on cymbals and Stevie Black on strings. The addition of these artists appears to be Geddie’s way of further emphasizing her efforts to solidify an underlying theme of truthful beauty.
“Divided” is next here opening with the nostalgic needle on vinyl effect. This cut further exemplifies Geddie’s ability to write thought-provoking albeit sometimes slightly dark, reflective lyrics. In general, her music seems to almost always expose her life changes and relationship experiences to her audience.
The next number, “In This City,” amply demonstrates her ability to add a little change now and then to her melodies and her lyrics. This song, as well as others such as “The Need” and “Set Us Free” contains a kernel of something that simply connects with the listener. With vocals vaguely reminiscent of Norah Jones and the honest, acoustic songwriting of the like of Joni Mitchell Geddie is creating something and sharing her secrets with you.
Don’t worry though. Geddie is open but also entertaining. Witness of the closing cut, “What We Lived For (The Starbucks Song)”. Included here is yet another fine example of her revelatory writing: “And we’d look for our fathers in 19 year olds.” (Your crusty chronicler would only be half surprised if Starbucks had not yet approached Geddie about adapting this tune for their own commercial purposes. Here’s hoping she doesn’t go the way of Natasha Bedingfield.)
One thing is certain, Geddie believes in truth in advertising. The purposely reworded line from one of her songs to title the album—Everything You Don’t See—surely lets potential listeners in on the fact that Geddie is more than an attractive blonde with a guitar. Indeed, Geddie is also an artist exposing innermost emotions and what might well feel like all too frequent failings. Thank you, sometimes life is like that.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.