"You're such an incredible songwriter . . . I want that music out there for the world to have!"— Amanda Putz, CBC Radio.
AMPLIGHT, Sylvia Pollard's first CD, is now available. Composer, musician, guitar teacher, Sylvia Pollard brings her electric guitar to the forefront as the singer of these songs.
Many of the songs on Amplight were composed with lyrics; the lyrics are gone, but the poetry remains and resonates.
Amplight is filled with a sense of isolation and exhilaration. The lone communication tower on the cover represents reaching out—to Nature, the Universe, everything beyond one’s self—trying to figure out, or come to terms with, ideas and emotions. The guitar and amplight on the inside cover creates an intimate, introspective setting. Layering melodies and rhythms, the album reflects and creates a bittersweet complexity of musical expression. Sylvia's music is a fusion, not so much of musical genres, but of emotions.
Here's what listeners are saying: "beautiful and so sensual" . . . "very impressionistic and almost always evokes loneliness" . . . "I would love to paint to this music" . . . "lots of strength but delicate too" . . . "I feel like I am outside" . . . "the sound of your instrument is so pure" . . . "wonderful guitar work" . . . "great film music" . . . "I've always loved this piece (Pink Lilies)—it's a haunting image—rolling across northern Ontario"
2007 - Present
Sylvia Pollard: Composer, Guitars, Keyboard
Sylvia is a composer and guitarist, primarily self-taught. She wrote her first song, “Pink Lilies,” when she was about 15.
In school, she sang in the choir and played guitar in various bands with friends. She played electric bass and bass violin in her high school band, and received first class honours in Royal Conservatory theory.
Sylvia took one year of music at Carleton University, Ottawa, completing her degree in English and Geography. She received a few cello lessons from a member of the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.
Sylvia recorded Amplight on her Mac in her kitchen with electric guitar and keyboard. It was released on July 30, 2009, online through HMV. Digital distribution commenced August 15, 2009. Physical CDs were available beginning September 24, 2009.
Sylvia Pollard was born in Chilliwack, British Columbia, and currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.
August 1, 2010: "Pink Lilies" is played on Fresh Air with Mary Ito, as recommended by Mark Rheaume, CBC Toronto Music Library
January 2, 2010: Amplight is featured as a favourite album of 2009 on a special, Ontario-wide broadcast, of Bandwidth (CBC Radio)
January 2, 2010: North by East West interview with Sylvia Pollard is posted (http://www.nxew.ca/2010/01/something-caught-my-ear.html)
December 24, 2009: Amplight is highlighted as a Holiday Music Pick, described as “a force of gorgeous instrumental music” on Ottawa Morning (CBC Radio)
January 6, 2009: “Pink Lilies” is the CBC Radio 3 New Music Canada Track of the Day, as introduced by Amanda Putz
Amanda Putz, Producer, Canada Live (CBC Radio 2) and Host, Bandwidth (CBC Radio 1):
“A stellar composer … I read a few reviews of her stuff and the word soundtrack keeps coming up. You’ll know why as soon as you hear her. It’s fantastic, layered, lush, and evocative music. For this critic, it’s a big deal to have this kind of visceral reaction to something without lyrics … Sylvia doesn’t need them. She turns your ear with the language of her guitar and the compositions themselves.” Russ Gordon, North by East West (Canadian Music Blog):
“Her lovely tones encompass mellow strumming to ass-kicking riffs in a classical surrounding. This is for the classically-styled guitar fan who liked listening to Iggy Pop in the closet when the parents were not home.”John Teeter, Graphic Designer, and CBC Radio 3 Fan of the Year:
“I am smitten with your music.”
Songs on Amplight
1. Pink Lilies
- 0:03:00 - from the album AMPLIGHT
2. Spaghetti Twist
- 0:02:13 - from the album AMPLIGHT
3. Northern Spy
- 0:02:30 - from the album AMPLIGHT
4. Love Is the Way
- 0:01:37 - from the album AMPLIGHT
5. Iron Gates
- 0:02:55 - from the album AMPLIGHT
6. Digging This Place
- 0:03:02 - from the album AMPLIGHT
7. A Simple "Yes"
- 0:03:30 - from the album AMPLIGHT
8. Segovia Rock
- 0:01:48 - from the album AMPLIGHT
9. Song for John Lennon
- 0:02:27 - from the album AMPLIGHT
10. Mixolydian Blue
- 0:01:34 - from the album AMPLIGHT
Sylvia's first song takes you on a journey across Canada. Written on Signal Hill in Esquimalt, on Vancouver Island, it was inspired by alpine flowers in interior British Columbia and water lilies on Kahshe River in Muskoka, Ontario. "Pink Lilies" features a haunting guitar riff and a keyboard duet. Is VIA Rail looking for a theme song?
This song was conceived as a classical piece but was recorded with a twist—not only overlaying guitar rhythms and melodies but also a spaghetti Western baritone guitar solo. Andrés Segovia meets Duane Eddy.
This song is about being overwhelmed by all of the craziness going on in the world. The Mod Squad meets James Bond in a Nordic setting.
“Love Is the Way”
Upbeat, even danceable, with a harmoniously layered melody—this song has somewhat embarrassing lyrics and was happily recorded as an instrumental.
This song was inspired by the news of caribou stranded as their icy pathways melted away. It became a song to all animals left outside, cold, drowning, and dying, because they don’t make good pets, and the people who hurt them by disassociating what they are doing, and feeling.
“Digging This Place”
It begins with a country rhythm, bass harmonics, and a catchy melody—a mixture of the excitement and fears of new friends and experiences.
“A Simple ‘Yes’”
Two guitar melodies play a third apart. Soon they are backed by a glam-rhythm guitar. Later they are joined by a single haunting guitar voice. The rhythm drops off. A painful song, lyrically, this is Sylvia’s favourite, musically, on the CD.
A few years before he passed away, Sylvia attended a performance by Andrés Segovia in Strasbourg, France; she was so moved by the beauty of his playing, she cried. She also noticed that although he played classical guitar, he could really rock out. Sylvia brings a haunting—somewhat classical, somewhat rockabilly—feeling to this song.
“Song for John Lennon”
Sylvia wrote this song to console her broken heart soon after the news of John Lennon’s death. It was written as a classical piece, but, in the recording process, the reverb and chorus amp effects intensified the emotions and evoked the vocal style of John Lennon.
One melody, one rhythm, shared by guitar and keyboard, cycling in a round.
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