Waking Hourby Vienna Teng
Even with her initial, tentative performances while still a student at Stanford, Vienna Teng caused an immediate stir in the California singer/songwriter scene. She self-released her debut LP, Waking Hour, in spring 2001, but consistent Bay Area buzz, strong website sales, and Teng's captivating live show led to interest from Massachusetts indie Virt, which signed her in May 2002. Three of Waking Hour's tracks were then remixed for radio by David Henry (Yo La Tengo; Guster), and an extensive tour brought one of the Bay Area's best-kept secrets to nationwide ears. Teng is an extremely intellectual songwriter who fills the spare moments of her piano-driven songs with wordy unions of personal emotion and reflections on the seasons. While she possesses a powerful voice, it's her command of melody and her subtlety that really stand out on Waking Hour. The Henry-produced tracks -- "Tower," "Gravity," and "Enough to Go By" -- could be considered chamber pop, with their shuffling percussion and lush, quietly surging stings accentuating Teng's gorgeous vocals. At the same time, "Daughter" and "Lullaby for a Stormy Night" are as delicate as hand-blown glass. As heartwarming as the latter song is, where Teng harmonizes with a child's voice on the reassuring line "Everything's fine in the morning/The rain'll be gone in the morning/But I'll still be here in the morning," she's elegantly jaded in the arch, duskily toned "Daughter." "Did you know you're so beautiful on the edge of summer?" she asks in a resolute tone, and the song's slightly mournful yet sure-handed piano line seems to trace the fading lines of a dissolving relationship. After such a powerful yet achingly intimate statement, the processed Middle Eastern rhythms and electric guitar solo of "Between" are a bit overwrought; the added instrumentation tends to dilute Teng's strikingly mature songwriting. But this is by no means a slight, as Waking Hour is a confident debut that's startling in its emotional and intellectual depth, but never too brainy that it loses sight of melody and song structure.
- Release Date:
- Virt Records
Performance CreditsVienna Teng Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Craig Wright Drums
Peter Wetherbee Percussion
David Henry Bass,Guitar,Cello
Will Kimbrough Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
John Given Electric Guitar
Eric Miller Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar
Kim & Dave Violin
Jim Batcho Drums
Technical CreditsDavid Henry Producer
Eric Miller Producer
Abby Getman Graphic Design
Vienna Teng Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I first discovered singer/songwriter Vienna Teng when an article about her in the San Jose Mercury News caught my eye. I went to her web site to see if she had any samples of her music. I was expecting to listen to a song or two and forget about her. What I found was a rehearsal version of ¿Gravity¿. This song captured my interest and motivated me to listen to other Vienna Teng songs. The web-only version of Gravity features a simple piano arrangement, nice melody, and Vienna¿s sweet voice. (Gravity also appears on the Waking Hour CD with a different arrangement). Waking Hour is a high-quality debut album. The lyrics and melodies are sophisticated. Many of the songs would fall into the ¿pretty¿ category. All were written by Vienna. The piano and vocal are Vienna¿s bread-and-butter, but several of the other tracks feature nice arrangements with additional instruments. ¿Eric¿s Song¿ is a beautiful song about being in love without mentioning Eric or the word love. Very nice - even if you don¿t have a thing for Eric. ¿Decade and One¿ is a profound song about being 31 (real ancient, eh?). ¿Momentum¿ and ¿Gravity¿ are among my favorites. Actually all the songs are nice. This is a great album to listen to when one is in a mellow mood. Definitely worth the price of admission.
If you are one of the many people out there who have been waiting to hear something new from Sara McLachlan..then grab this CD. She isn't a copy..in fact I think she is amazingly unique..maybe the two can come up with something together. Grab the CD and a glass of wine..lay down on the sofa and relax.
Definitely one of my favorite CDs. Just take a moment and click on any song above, and you'll see exactly what I mean. Its very relaxing, soothing music that has something that is missing from most other music out there.
I discovered Vienna Teng at a live performance where her talent radiated from behind the piano that she performed simultaneously while singing. After buying the CD, I fell in love with her fresh sound, her lyrical melodies and amazing chordal progressions. It's not common that an artist performs songs that she herself composed, which is a further testament to this rare find.
I stumbled onto a sample of Vienna's work over the Internet, which led me to purchase her CD, Waking Hour. After buying the CD, I was able to fully experience Vienna's meticulous lyrical craftsmanship and soothing vocal presentation over thirteen great songs. The lyrics were refreshing and unique, making me want to listen carefully, so as to not miss a line. Vienna's vocal range of delicate and strong passages filled the songs with depth and emotion. And her beautiful piano gracefully guided the relaxing melodies. My favorites were Momentum, Say Uncle, Soon Love Soon, and Lullabye for a Stormy Night. Her music has much more substance than the majority of the new music making the scenes today.
And now you are a witness to the start of an engaging new talent and musical career...
I don't know if Vienna Teng will ever make it big, but she deserves to. It may be hard to classify her music - and we know that big radio doesn't tolerate that these days. OK, of my soapbox, this is an amazing album. Her voice, her mastery of the piano, her emotion. Just sit back and relax and soak this CD in.