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MP3 Billie Burke Estate - Give It All Away

Smart songs for grown-ups.

12 MP3 Songs
POP: Beatles-pop, POP: Power Pop

Billie Burke Estate plays smart songs for grown-ups. Think of an upbeat Randy Newman, a mature Ben Folds, a secular Cat Stevens. The brainchild of Seattle multi-instrumentalist Andy Liotta, BBE combines the warmth and soulfulness of the early ''70s with a modern lyrical sense that is literate and courageous.

Billie Burke Estate has just released its debut, Give It All Away, a collection of songs that balances clever and provocative songwriting with tight and groovy arrangements. Each cut is topped off with Liotta''s distinctive vocals, strong but empathetic, vulnerable yet assured, and the twelve well-paced tracks come together into an album that''s compulsively easy to listen to from start to finish. Whether it''s the affirmation of "Gay" or the pain and searing honesty of "Jenny Ran Away," or the light-hearted tenderness of "Look What You Done," the music is consistently engaging and catchy.

Although the first album for Billie Burke Estate, Give It All Away shows a musical focus and clarity of vision that Liotta honed over twenty years of writing and performing his own songs. He spent the late ''80s and most of the ''90s fronting two notorious SF Bay Area power trios, Smokin'' Rhythm Prawns (''87 to ''92) and Walrus (''93 to ''98). With over 500 shows between the two units, and sharing the stage with the likes of Green Day, Primus, Counting Crows, fIREHOSE, and Blues Traveler, Liotta became a ferocious performer, juggling intricate bass lines with powerful vocals and making it look easy.

When the Walrus era came to a close, Liotta moved to the Northwest and decided to go it alone. Volume and distortion no longer a shield, he began crafting lyrics and melodies that were more intimate, inspired by the beauty of Pet Sounds and the passion of the early Beatles solo albums. With a used 8-track as the foundation, Liotta created a one-man band, layering piano, bass, guitar, vocals and drums to construct BBE''s unique flavor of brainy pop. He dubbed the project "Billie Burke Estate" after the late actress'' home, which hosted winter sledding and summer carnivals during his youth in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

The sound of Billie Burke Estate has been developed and crafted over the past seven years, building toward the ultimate goal of a full-blown release; and after five demo albums and over seventy songs committed to tape and hard drive, the time was finally right. Liotta teamed with longtime friend and LA instrumental whiz Zak Schaffer, who produced and contributed the solid backbeat. They worked fast, recording, mixing, and mastering in just over four weeks in the fall of 2005, mostly in Liotta''s basement. The final product showcases top-quality musicianship, intelligent and compassionate songwriting, all captured with the energy and enthusiasm of a longtime dream come true.

And now it''s time to take the music to the people. Liotta will be performing live this spring, accompanying himself with electric piano and guitar in venues around Seattle. Inspired by the past, but set firmly in the present, Billie Burke Estate will remind listeners of a time when music mattered.

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