TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 97: Rachael & Vilray

PHOTO: JONNO RATTMAN | There is an intrinsic grandeur to the Great American Songbook that we can all appreciate. When the first few bars of those classics begin they can boost our spirit, provide us with a moment of quiet contemplation, or even make us a little bit misty.

For those reasons, the compositions are timeless. However, they do indeed emanate from a specific time and place, one that is far away from the one in which we now live. The classic standards will always remain eternal and most people can enjoy them; after all, that is the whole idea behind being a “standard” in the first place. However, listeners also yearn to hear music from their own eras. While grandma and grandpa—or, great-grandma and great-grandpa—might remember when those songs were new, we often digest that music through their lens, not ours.

Rachael and Vilray have crafted for us a new catalog of music that belongs to the 21st century, but it’s also music that our ancestors—those who remember the release of the original standards—would also appreciate. Rachael Price, vocalist from Lake Street Dive, and Vilray met one another while attending the New England Conservatory and reconnected years later when Rachael caught one of Vilray’s sets where he was performing his own compositions that hearkened back to those great old standards but were completely new. When Rachael heard his treasure trove of tunes, she knew she wanted to be a part of sharing them with a wider audience.

The duo has just released their second album on Nonesuch Records titled, I Love a Love Song, featuring a collection of songs written by Vilray (with one cover song). Vilray plays guitar and Rachael brings her vocal perfection, but it is the compositions—the music—that truly elevate the project. So, enjoy the existing American standards from the last 100 years; the music contained therein is not broke and doesn’t need fixing. However, the Great American Songbook must always be accepting new entries and if we had to suggest some additions from our time, from this year; Rachael and Vilray should be at the top of our list.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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