- Our Town
PCSS grad of 1988 releases first solo CD
Former PCSS student LJ Mounteney has been working toward a career in music. With her first solo cd, Here in the Dark, she has taken a giant step forward.
Mounteney graduated from PCSS in 1988, then went on to Vancouver to study jazz and commercial music at Vancouver Community College. Since, she has pursued a passion for music, working with numerous Vancouver bands and also performing solo.
She credits several positive influences from her Creston days.
“At PCSS I worked with drama teacher Bruce Richer and science teacher and pianist Doug Grunert,” she said. “I also studied with Geri Buchanan. These individuals gave me confidence in myself as a young person and the courage to follow my passion.”
Mounteney toured and performed with Van Django, which she describes as “Vancouver’s favourite jazz band” for three Christmas seasons. In 2015 she co-produced and sang as a feature vocalist on several tracks on their Christmas album, COOL YULE.
She recorded Here in the Dark in 2016, drawing together some of Vancouver’s finest musicians. The eclectic mix of popular covers, all with a bluesy/jazz flavor also includes one of Mounteney’s own compositions, which is the title song.
She said on Friday that she expects Here in the Dark to be released on CD Baby at the end of February. It is now available at Black Bear Books on Canyon Street and can be heard on her web site, www.ljmounteney.com. Fans can also follow her on Facebook.
Here in the Dark features a great selection of favourites that suit LJ Mounteney’s voice perfectly. Rich, full and clear, her voice is perfectly suited for light jazz numbers, and Chuck E’s in Love, a Ricky Lee Jones favourite first released in 1979 is a shining example.
I enjoyed the entire cd on my first listen through, which is somewhat unusual for me. It usually takes me a few plays before I warm up to some songs. But from the start, a spiritural called Motherless Child, she had my attention, which did not stray as she launched into Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind. By the third song, One Note Samba, I was hooked. That track, penned by Antonio Carlos Jobim, sparkles. Mounteney gives her own distinct interpretation of a bossa nova song recorded by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
The entire cd is strong from start to finish,with strong support from a band that includes Jon Roper (acoustic, electric and lap steel guitars and E-bow), Graham Howell (tenor sax and flute), James Meger (acoustic and electric bass), Joel Fountain (drums and all percussion) and Cecile Larochelle (backing vocals on Here in Dark and I Want You Back).
I was thrilled to hear an old Burt Bacharach favourite, Look of Love, and Van Morrison’s Crazy Love. Two brilliant songs by two great songwriters.
This is a terrific recording and I will be listening to it for a long time to come.