Rachael & Vilray — the debut album by Lake Street Dive singer-songwriter Rachael Price and composer, singer, and guitarist Vilray — features 10 original songs by Vilray, plus two covers from the era that inspired him: Cuban composer Pedro Junco Jr.’s 1943 “Nosotros” and Drake/Atler’s “I Love the Way You’re Breaking My Heart,” first popularized by Peggy Lee.
There is indeed a story behind these songs and the formation of this gifted duo, one that is arguably even more fascinating than any lesson in obscure musical history, since ten out of these twelve tracks were written by Vilray himself, expressly for this project. Vilray is very much a contemporary composer who can truly evoke, not merely imitate, Tin Pan Alley tunes from the thirties and forties, a period that he and Price have both long been passionate about. These songs are truly transporting: One can easily believe they could have been plucked from the soundtrack of a Hollywood musical filmed in glorious black and white or from a now-forgotten Broadway show that briefly lit up the Great White Way. But the fact that they are utterly original makes them all the more impressive and even more delightful to hear.
“The voices of acoustic duo Rachael & Vilray are magical enough on their own,” said Chronogram, “but when they blend in song the results are utterly sublime.”
Stream “Alone at Last” by Rachael & Vilray on YouTube:
Price and Vilray first met in 2003 as students at the New England Conservatory of Music. He formed a couple of bands with Price’s soon-to-be bandmates in Lake Street Dive, Mike Calabrese and Mike “McDuck” Olson. Even then, Price recalled, Vilray had a nimble mind and quick wit when it came to lyrics: “That’s when I knew Vilray was a good songwriter. They would do random clicks on Wikipedia and when they found something interesting, they would write a song about it — say, the cold-blooded rat of Somalia. Vilray was able to take any subject and write excellent poetry about it, funny rhymes, and he would sing the songs. I thought he was so good — he could just apply himself to anything.”
Rachael & Vilray
W/ Moorea Masa & The Mood
The Miracle Theatre
Sunday, Jan. 23
Doors @ 7pm