Stephanie Winters

Let's see, it was the San Diego Folk Alliance, February of 2004. My multi-instrumentalist friend Doug Clegg and I had talked about getting together for a proper meal, and he was in town from Santa Barbara for the day and night, and called to hook it up. He said that we would be joined by the musician/producer Peter Gallway and cellist Stephanie Winters. Really, that sounds better yet, I'm sure I said...

Some cultured member of the fairer sex (did I say fair?) elevates any meal, or at least spices it up. I'd heard this NY artist grace a number of singer songwriter recordings, especially the work of my buddy Walter Parks in their acclaimed duo The Nudes. Other memorable examples included the work of Louise Taylor and David Wilcox, two artists high on my list, at least. And what's, after all, not to like about a cellist, especially if she's a nice woman, which by reputation she was. Charming, too, rather immediately I thought, with a frame that reached veritably for the sky. Although the artist's manner is demure, I stand more or less at eye level with her ribcage. I tried to give equal attention to the guys at the table, both extremely talented and wonderful dudes, but I'm certain I failed. Stephanie's great fun, and has an infectious laugh.

I was interested to hear that she'd made a solo record, and that it was what she called a classical crossover record. I didn't know what that meant, but somehow it didn't sound good. I was so wrong, as it turned out. (I'm so not shocked by that anymore, when I'm so wrong.)
Through the Storm is an incredible work. It bridges the gap by ignoring the boundaries between folk, classical, and jazz, weaving them together into something you want to wrap yourself in, not hang on the wall. It has the ability to capture a huge audience, if it is heard. So buy it, and play it for your friends. It's something that was missing completely from my collection and the inclusion of which has greatly improved my life. Not just because it's classical music, because it's not just classical. It's cello music, played by a masterful and passionate player. Five years in the making, it's a musical milestone in our opinion. (Besides, isn't cello everybody's secret favorite instrument? It certainly is mine...) We think this music has the power to make a celebrity out of Stephanie Winters, if it is heard, and if she seizes upon the best way to present the work live.

The genius of Alan Williams, who arranged and produced the record, is at many points hard to fathom, and the artist is quick to point out that the record is as much his as it is hers. But all the cellos you will hear are Stephanie Winters, and there are sometimes lots of them. It's all cellos, in fact, and it sounds fantastic. So buy it, and play it for your friends. Maybe I said that already.

I write this setup from Soho in NYC, where I am for the summer. But the conversation that follows happened on the phone from Nashville, just a day before I left for the East Coast. We spoke a lot as new friends, so I had to edit it down severely. She's a wonderful person. And I love just thinking of the reader going to the clips to check out this truly impressive and moving recording. And now, in her own words, Stephanie Winters.  continue