DONNA LARSEN AND MESSENGERS CD REVIEWED IN THE TROUBADOUR!
DONNA LARSEN & THE MESSENGERS
By Frank Kocher, June 2019
The self-titled new album by Donna Larsen and the Messengers finds the singer/songwriter in a full band setting, moving comfortably between pop and rock idioms on a dozen originals. Larsen is a take-charge vocalist who can deliver a variety of personae from lush ballads to fronting a grinding guitar rock crew. Her songs may jump genres, but she manages to stay catchy and sounds comfortable throughout; as a lyricist she also writes interesting, observational snapshots—some introspective and others familiar.
The Messengers, in addition to Larsen’s vocals and rhythm guitar, are Randy Hodge on lead guitar, John “J Rod” Rodriguez on bass, and Paul McGee on drums and percussion; the disc adds Scott Gorham’s piano and keys to good effect on several tracks. Josquin Des Pres at Track Star studio did a nice production job. The opener is “A Ghost From the Past,” a choppy, charging rocker, which sends a message that this set is going to turn up the knobs, with Larsen telling a tale of her readiness to move forward and ditch the baggage of unsatisfactory past relationships and experiences. Quite different, “And So It Is” follows, a lovely pop song built on great chorus harmonies and scat singing, about the journey of self-improvement.
Another effective pop tune is “The Step,” as Larsen examines a personal choice that has repercussions. To a catchy hook, she wonders, “Courage and might I’m asking for/ Take the step, open the door, leading out of my comfort zone to the unknown/ Do I take the step?” Beautiful harmonies help drive this one home. “Easy as Pie” is a tasty shot of straight up rock ‘n’ roll that clicks with nice guitar work.
The best ballad is “Solitude,” which floats in on piano and gives Larsen a chance to flash her emotional and vocal range. A great arrangement enhances this highlight, which takes its time and burns itself into the listener’s brain the way great songs do. A hybrid reggae-rock lurch drives “The Corner,” and as it chunks along Larsen is again talking about introspective issues—she must decide between two courses, “standing on the corner of truth and honesty.”
The songs on this program are not hurried, the songs average over four minutes and four ballads are at least five. Nothing seems to be overblown or too long, though, while nothing stops short. “Beautiful Whisper” is a softly rendered love song, about transcendent features of the love she experiences for another. Soaring background vocals give this one an ethereal vibe, and Larsen again shows the strength of her pipes, effortlessly bouncing high. “Every Song is a Miracle” presses many of the same buttons.
Larsen wraps the set with “The Last Prayer,” about an effort to achieve peace. ”Silence is the greatest cause of wars.” She challenges the listener to take up the cause—as she invokes the brave youth who died in Tiananmen square. The lesson comes across on layered guitars and keyboards, a triumphant buildup with a timely message. And a perfect final statement by Donna Larsen and the Messengers on their excellent new album.
THE CD IS OUT!
Donna Larsen and Messengers bring you something entirely unique. Any attempt to peg the music that comes from this engaging band will leave you stymied. Messengers’ music guides you through wide ranges of depth and feeling and brings with it a variety of intensity that you won’t experience elsewhere. They deliver songs you want to listen to over and over again, along with some that you can’t help but just dance to – even in your own living room.
You can download your copy at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/donnalarsen
NEW MUSIC COMING ON MESSENGERS SELF-TITLED CD!
Donna Larsen and Messengers bring you something entirely unique. Any attempt to peg the music that comes from this engaging band will stymie the listener. This music guides you through wide range of depth and feeling and brings with it a variety of intensity that you won’t experience elsewhere. Messengers delivers songs you want to listen to over and over again, along with some that you can’t help but just dance to – even in your own living room.
There is such a range of emotional experience that it could only be delivered by a merging of musical artists from somewhere between Pink Floyd and Joni Mitchell. Actually, it is actually easier to describe what this music is not. It is not Goth, Heavy Metal, Country, Americana, Blues Rock, Jazz Rock, Punk Rock… So we call it Indie Pop Rock.
Donna Larsen’s musical architecture, mood, history, and psychology crosses all boundaries and lands in your heart. Lyrically she lives in a world of positivity and possibility. This music so much more! You can hear the influence diverse artists and genres that have stayed with Donna throughout her lifetime.
The new self-titled CD, Messengers, is inspired, emotional, melodic and musically intriguing. Being well aware of, and resigned to the beauty of all possibilities of life makes their message ultimately and extraordinarily hopeful.
Writing and performing music on her own terms has allowed Donna and her band to stay true to their vision and focus of presenting the world with thought provoking and uplifting music. Messengers delivers an experience of spiritually centered music to guide your life by – not music to fall asleep by! Although you may not have heard of Donna Larsen and Messengers yet, you will soon. Their CD will drop by the end of 2018, so keep your heart and your ears open!
A NIGHT OF POWERHOUSE VOCALS-CHRISTINE GILARDI & DONNA LARSENJoin Donna Larsen and Messengers with Special Guest, Powerhouse Christine Gilardi and her Band of Talent! Music starts at 8:00pm! $7 cover.
WE ARE IN THE STUDIO!The band has embarked on a new adventure. We have begun recording our first CD at Track Star Studios! Special thanks to Josquin Des Pres for being awesome and making the process such an enjoyable experience. Right now, Donna is laying down basic tracks. Stay tuned for more updates as things progress.
DONNA LARSEN AND MESSENGERS ARE AT THE LANDING AGAIN!
Come out and support Original Music all while having a GREAT TIME Dancing and enjoying this kick back place to be!
Friday, September 14th – 9:00 PM
DONNA LARSEN AND MESSENGERS AT THE LANDINGWhat a fun and casual place to hang out with your friends on Saturday the 7th! Great drinks! Donna and Messengers will be playing all their original IndiePopRock Music from 9-12:00 midnight. Come out and let us know which songs you lke best – HELP US PICK OUR SONGS FOR THE UP COMING CD!! We want to give you more of what you want – – as long as it’s legal!! Saturday, July 7th – 9 to Midnight
FAST TIMES – MAY 25THPut your dancin’ shoes on and come out for some Fabulous Dinner and Music with Donna Larsen and Messengers! We’ll start you off a bit softer and save the full on rock for our second and third sets. It’s all original and we are trying to label what we write. Maybe you can help us?? We hope to see you ALL there!! Friday, May 25th – 7:00 PM
AT RIVIERA SUPPER CLUB WITH FALLING DOVES – MAY 19THBring your friends out to this Great Place!! The grill will be hot and ready for your choice of steaks, chicken, or fish. Great drink prices too!! Falling Doves start at 8:00pm!!! Donna Larsen and Messengers will finish out the night with our own blend of Indie Pop and Rock! This will be our second time to play there and we are so excited about having Falling Doves join us! Saturday, May 19th – 7:00 PM
EARTH DAY: DONNA LARSEN’S 4TH YEAR AS PRODUCER OF THE MOON STAGETogether with DeuxRay Productions, Donna is thrilled to be able to bring San Diego Audiences such a fantastic group of original and award-winning musical artists for Earth Fair San Diego 2018! Music starts at 10:15 and goes all day until 4:30pm. Don’t miss Southern California’s largest Free Festival on April 22nd!!
SAN DIEGO INDIE ACOUSTIC ORIGINAL ARTIST SHOWCASE ON SATURDAY, JULY 30TH!!!
“How POSI Can You Be?”
You really want to be at Rebecca’s Coffeehouse for San Diego Indie Acoustic Original Artist Showcase on July 30th!!! Rebeca and David are giving us a rare appearance and sharing their beautiful, Positive Music with us. Christine Gilardi is well known and appreciated in San Diego for her performances of sacred music. I’ll be giving it my all with my guys, Randy and John. Don’t miss it!! — with Christine Gilardi, Sierra West, Rebeca Randle, David Randle, Randy Hodge and Donna Larsen.
Suggested donation $15
3015 Juniper St
San Diego, CA
YOU ARE NOT GONNA BELIEVE THIS!April 25, 2016 You are not gonna believe this. I have been healing up from the skiing accident a year ago. Feeling stronger all the time, but still having to watch my step. Well tonight I was in line with Randy at the GigTown Switchfoot concert when they wanted everyone to move the line. Following the crowd around I stepped into a tree well, my leg bent side to side, I screamed as I fell into a group of people who thank God softened the fall. People – especially Levi Dean and others, mostly musicians – were so helpful. I even saw Ian McCartor and he should be passing out flyers now for Saturday’s show! My knee – yes the one still recovering – is more swollen than it was during the skiing accident. Pretty sure the ligaments are shredded again. What luck. Looks like I’ll be back to sitting during my concerts. So so frustrated. John ( J-Rod) is taking me to the Ortho surgeon tomorrow. I hope to be able to use my old crutches to do my show at Le Stat’s on Thursday when I open for this great band from San Francisco called The Sugar Ponies. You know what they say … The show must go on!
TOP TEN ON REVERBNATION AGAIN!
Thanks so much for getting me up again on the Top Ten at Reverbnation Singer-Songwriters!! It’s fabulous to feel so supported in my artistic and musical endeavors!! Have a marvelous day and stay cool!! Hugs from Donna!! It’s an honor to have reached this milestone — ‘thanks’ to each and every one of you for supporting the band thus far.
FUNDRAISER FOR H2O ROCKED!What a Great and FUN night!! Mishelle Banaga rocked it on lead guitar, Peter Bogle blew everyone’s mind with his drum solo, and Lars Rasmussen slapped that bass with some pretty sick style at the Fundraiser for H20 tonight. Love my band!!! I am so happy with the band’s first gig and how it was put on by Jay Seven. Thanks for having all of us!
IT’S A LITTLE JAZZY. HOPE YOU LIKE IT!Just came out of Noisy Cricket Studio. Man, that producer of mine, Steve Larsen, is a genius! We finished the mixdown of my little jazz song for the In My Own Backyard Children’s Song Book and CD Set www.imobyforkids.com called “This Tiny Thing”, with the Maestro, Ray Briz on keys. I’m pretty excited about this! Have a listen–it’s in the playlist on the right.