Hearing Aide: Talking Under Water ‘Talking Under Water’

Talking Under Water takes us on a journey that some of us know too well: the winding path to recovering a broken heart. At times achingly candid, the overall tone of the album is triumphant, featuring big choruses and soulful vocals that stir the intricate songwriting. Talking Under Water is a five-piece outfit hailing from Rochester. Their namesake debut LP is a great premise for what we can expect from this promising group.

After Dave Chisholm received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from Eastman School of Music for jazz trumpet in 2013, he found himself returning to his roots of singer-songwriter. The project began to take on life when he decided to put together a band. He elicited help from fellow former Eastman students Elise Hughey (cello), Alex Patrick (guitar) and Joe Parker (drums).

“I really think cello lends itself well to the type of songs I tend to write–these reflective, melancholy, lyrical things–so I asked Elise to play,” Chisholm told NYS Music. “She has both her Bachelors and Master’s Degrees from Eastman, as well. In any project she’s a part of, Elise really puts everything she has into it.”

While Parker and Patrick’s contributions live on with this LP, Talking Under Water now features Colin Gordon (piano), Matt Bevan-Perkins (drums) and Samantha Thomas (vocals). According to Chisholm, there are plans in stow to record this summer with the current line-up.

The group recorded in December of 2015 at Temperamental Studios in Geneseo, NY. A large portion of the LP was recorded live; and Grammy Award winner Stephen Roessner produced and mixed the record. Violinists Marja Alanen and Molly Werts McDonald, and violinist Ben Magruder joined them in the recording studio, along with jazz trombonist Brendan Lanighan and Matthew Sieber-Ford on tenor saxophone.

One of the driving forces of this record is to give people a guiding path in times of trouble. “I just think about the hard times I’ve had, the struggles I’ve faced with regards to my own mental health–it seems like sad songs really serve such a strong purpose for those times in our lives,” Chisholm wrote. “So often the overwhelming feeling during dark times is one of isolation, and sad songs tell me that I’m not alone. The message is ultimately one of empathy. I hope listeners find this music cathartic when times are hard, and point the way for a more hopeful tomorrow, even on just a personal level.”

The album begins with an alluring piano tune, and Chisholm’s voice quickly follows in the first track, “Lost,” which has the first big chorus that could be seen as the band’s signature sound. The interplay of instruments and artistic melody exhibits the diligence the band poured forth while producing the record. The second track, “We Used to Dream,” blends the horn section seamlessly into their sound. “Days Like Today” shows Beatles inspiration, while the piano certainly adds a wonderful element to the building melody. Finally, the track “Gravity” is an acoustic melody, eventually backed by Hughey with stirring cello, where Chisholm once again displays his wide vocal range.

The album will be released on Friday, April 28, 2017. To pre-order your copy today, visit here. Talking Under Water will hold an album release show on April 29 at The Little Theater in Rochester. For more information, go here.

Key Tracks: Lost, Days Like Today, If My Body Freezes