Touting a minimalist lineup of delicate yet incisive piano playing, naked voice, and moody string arrangements, Stephanie Croff’s release, Why Do We Sing, is a compelling chronicle of emotional descent, ascent, and the troubled waters between the two. Like the crisis-beset femmes of Tori Amos, Over the Rhine’s Karen Bergquist, and Patty Griffith, Stephanie Croff courts chaos of the heart without careening into musical ire and gestures towards redemption without waxing saccharine. Why Do We Sing not only showcases Croff’s lush vocals, but also the string mastery of Kevin fox, whose cello matches the emotional pulse of Croff’s delivery beat for beat. Why Do We Sing is an exercise in simplicity: a purging of one woman’s burdens, a shunning of musical overproduction in favor of musical restraint. Listen to this album when it’s quiet, cold, lonely, or when you need something to outdo the clamor in your life. I guarantee melancholy will never sound so good.Andy Patterson
Produced by Bear Erickson and Stephanie Croff except for “Why Do We Sing,” which was produced by Joby Baker, Bear Erickson, and Stephanie Croff. Piano on 1, 3, and 9 recorded on Laurie Kingsley’s 1975 Steinway B in Solvang, California. All others recorded on a 1984 Yamaha U3 at Industrial Saw & Sound in Buellton, California. Vocals on 1 recorded by Joby Baker at Baker Studios in Victoria, BC. All others recorded by Bear Erickson at World Tree Studios in Santa Ynez, California. *Cello written/arranged/played/recorded by Kevin Fox at Sonus Productions in Toronto, Ontario. Mixed/mastered by Joby Baker at Baker Studios LTD, in Victoria, BC.