Emily Dussault and Leslie Vincent are true renaissance women. Both accomplished actresses, composers, and singers, now they are set to embark on their next achievement as The Champagne Drops. Their debut album Side by Side will be released on April 16th.
The album of originals (plus one cover) explores femininity and womanhood with vulnerability, humor, and authenticity. This collection of songs have been written over the years from experiences with friends, other artists, and a variety of projects. The jazz duo examines moments of their lives, side by side, as best friends.
Side by Side Album Review
Opening with “Rich Pie”, a song penned by a viral 3rd grader’s poem titled The True Feminine, the words provide an introduction to Emily and Leslie. It’s a simplified empowering message that women are more than sugar and spice, and that there are stories and art behind them. The motto at the end of the song is filled with power and determination.
“I am a rich pie strong with knowledge.
I will not be eaten.”
The title track “Side by Side” is one of the first duets that The Champagne Drops learned. The jazzy-rooted cover spotlights the energy and humor of the ladies, with tight harmonies and back and forth vocals. The underlying theme of the song encapsulates the dedication that they have to each other, no matter what comes their way. You can hear the obvious charm and twinkle that Emily and Leslie have when singing together on this song.
It’s apparent that having backgrounds in theater gives you a clever ability to instill humor in music. Transporting you back into high school, “Lylas” talks about bad hair days, frenching, and the uncertainty of what’s ahead in life.”13 Going On 30″ is another comedic gem that hits on nostalgia with braces, sloppy joes, and taking math tests. The chorus shines with adulting duties and that relieved feeling of finally being independent.
On the darker side of comedy lies with “Perchta”, a song written about a terrifying winter witch named Frau Perchta. This is another song that benefits from their theater backgrounds as The Champagne Drops craft a haunting message about what can happen with Perchta. The added melodica adds a sliver of haunt as well to the story.
“So if your work lacks fortitude
She’ll come and gut you in the night.”
The catchiest song on the album “Palace”, comes from an inspired songwriting project with Theo Langason. The three of them were working on a project centered around the theme of living rooms. Theo inspired the ladies to be more free in their writing. He declared that the only rule was that none of them were allowed to apologize for the work they brought into the room. This directive helped them to let go of perfection and not take themselves too seriously.
“Palace” lives in the kind of imagination you have as a kid. Things seem easy and beautiful in cardboard houses. The chorus simmers in magic as Emily and Leslie harmonize. Their vocals splendidly melt together, like two hands holding each other. Halfway through the song the vocals split. Their vocals twirl around each other until a burst of layers and a final chorus where voices unite. It’s a well crafted example of friendship and childhood imagination.
Ending the album is “Lily of the Valley”. The ukulele blends with organ and bass in a song written as a tribute to a mother. The lyrics provide a strong reminder of the power that woman have, in their words, their bodies, and in their hearts. It’s a fitting ending to an album solidifying the importance of partners in thick and thin, love in our families, and the bonds that are built through imagination and laughter. The album is a safe nest to celebrate our personal relationships. Side by Side is filled with these messages and reminders that spark our remembrance of easier times. Coming out of a difficult year, it’s a welcomed debut album that can bring some smiles back.
Catch a special evening of music and conversation on April 16th on Facebook to celebrate the release. Meghan Kreidler (Kiss The Tiger) will lead a Q&A about the new album and the interesting intersection of theatre and music-making.
You can find more information and follow The Champagne Drops at the links below.