VALERY GORE with TMDP at Supermarket (268 Augusta), Friday (November 21). $10. 416-840-0501.
The conventional wisdom is that the first album is easier than the second, since you've had a lifetime to write it and no pressure except to make it good. But in Valery Gore's case, she's found the opposite to be true.
The Toronto-based singer/songwriter views her recently released sophomore effort, Avalanche To Wandering Bear (Do Right), as much more focused and developed than her 2005 self-titled debut, due to a wider range of influences and a slower, more relaxed approach to recording.
"The first record was pretty much live off the floor, recorded for under $2,000. For this one, I saved all my money and spent a lot more time on the arrangements and production," she says.
"My influences totally changed after going to Humber for jazz. Surrounded by so many musicians, you're exposed to much more music. Growing up in a small town, you're pretty much at the mercy of the tastes of whoever's working at the music store."
This isn't to say that Gore's debut was by any means a disaster. Her songwriting and performances were already strong, but since then she's added a lot more colour and creativity to that piano pop backdrop. References to cosmic jazz, soul and psych have helped push her beyond the coffee shop audience she might have been stuck with had she not had her horizons expanded by her college classmates.
"The first disc got good reviews, but I tended to get slotted in with all the other Canadian female singer/songwriters: ‘Great, another fucking Sarah Slean.' I feel a bit like I'm restarting everything with this album."
Changing labels from Six Shooter to Do Right should help accentuate this shift, since her new home is more associated with dance-floor jazz and future funk then with folk. Accordingly, she's excited by the prospect of having her songs remixed, even though she confesses to knowing very little about dance music. Who knows? Maybe this experience will inspire Gore to reinvent herself again next time out. 3