Having spent a bizarre nine months in the Lehigh Valley, a lost ’80-’81 freshman term at Lafayette cutting classes for gigs in New York, I can sympathize with the siren call of Gotham’s proximity on Postcards – so close, yet distant from the Delaware! Allentown, PA native Ms. Lubené never left the area, but with a voice that’s equal parts Patti Smith, Lene Lovich, Nina Hagen, Joni Mitchell, and Larry Lee of Ozark Mountain Daredevils (as a kid, I thought he was female!), she has a foot planted both places. Her tracks cross countryside folk rock and Britfolk (she covers John Martyn’s 1971 Bless the Weather title track) with CBGB art-punk (she covers The Ramones 1978 Road to Ruin classic, “I Just Want to Have Something to Do”), especially Ms. Smith, a patron saint in the way Lubené forms syllables, and in some of the scratched tension guitar parts–edgier than that region favored when I ditched Easton. Not bad!
Danielle Lubené: Press
DANIELLE LUBENE’ “POST CARDS FROM THE SEA OF ME”
Danielle Lubene’ is back with an offering that can only be described as unique, powerful and sensual. Her edgy style and full lyrics have storylines that run the gamut of life’s quirky ups and downs. At times you can hear influences ranging from Patti Smith to Lene Lovitch and styles that range from artsy folk-rock to punk influenced jams. Her emotions range from love to anger as she portrays a style of realness to her sound. This indie artist has the energy to take it to different levels with a distinct cleverness that is rarely found. She has the ability to blend her music into many different genres with an ease not seen in today’s diverse sounds. To say that she has a fresh way of infusing these differences into her music is remarkable and reflects on her many talents as a songwriter, composer and lyricist.
“Sometimes” is a nice blend of folk and acoustic rock. Her strong vocals and meaningful lyrics empower this track. “Litterbox” has that alternative rock sound in the mold of a Chrissy Hynde that is neat and retro. “You Go Where You Go” is a cool mid-tempo acoustic number that could hold water with most of the established artist’s offerings. “Sacred” really emanates from deep down within with lyrics that are very heartfelt.
“Perfect Night” has a peppy up-tempo beat with tight melodies and a catchy hook! “Cowardly Liar” is one of my favorites. This song portrays Danielle in the mold of a Patti Smith with those precise deflections in her vocals. “My Mirror” reflects a whole lot of feeling that ranges from anger to pain.
“I Just Want to Have Something to Do” is arguably the best track on this CD. This Ramones classic is covered masterfully! “Bless the Weather” exposes Danielle’s inner feelings in a sensual way that is so refreshing. She gives so much of herself in this track. “Sweet Revelry” is a true revelation of what she is all about. This acoustic ballad touches one’s soul!
It’s so nice to see this lady returning with such a strong collection of songs. This CD has the potential to mix it up with many different genres and formats. I give this 2 THUMBS UP!
Danielle Lubené Releases CD at Black Box Theatre
By ROSEMARY PRATKA
Special to Lehigh Valley Source
Bethlehem, Pa.--Danielle Lubené's CD release party last Sunday evening at the Black Box Theatre within the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts in Bethlehem was more than a welcoming return to music for this local singer/songwriter, it was a work of art in itself.
Black box theatres became popular in the 1960's as spare, black painted venues in which experimental and improvisational acting could be performed without a focus on set or technical elements. In this way the human drama itself could be more fully explored. And for Lubené, this was the perfect space to present her latest work, "Post Cards From The Sea Of Me." Produced by Harrisburg's Jason Rubal (Dresden Dolls, Hierosonic), it is an original blend of ballads and pop songs, ranging from the pleasurably upbeat to emotional material that seems meant to cauterize wounds.
Lubené, looking doll-like except for her laced up boots, started the show alone on stage with her acoustic guitar singing "April Fool" from her 2003 release "Slink". Backing vocalist Kathleen Warren then appeared and they sang "ESP and the Sandman," from Lubené's debut EP in 1994. The two women's beautfully synchronized harmonies evoked hushed approval from the audience of about fifty people, many who appeared to be long time fans, delighted to hear this song. Once the rest of the band came on to the stage things heated up as they played songs like "Temptation" and "My Henry Miller" which channeled Lubené's edgy, sensual side.
Lubené then performed the new CD in its entirety. Bassist Bill Melcher, and drummer Dave Joachim kept up an energetic rhythm on songs like "Sometimes" and the Ramones cover "I Just Want to Have Something to Do," while guitarist Doug Ashby turned up the distortion, playing riffs and solos with evident pleasure. Lubené danced while singing, and when not playing guitar, used her hands gesticulating to emphasize her point. The ballad "My Mirror", a song about acceptance and understanding was moving, and John Martyn's classic "Bless The Weather" showed off Lubené's smooth vocals intertwining with Melcher's exquisite, prominent bass lines. Lubené finished with "Sweet Revelry," a song inspired by her daughter Maddy, to warm applause. For an encore Lubené and Warren sang a rollicking version of Wanda Jackson's "Mean, Mean Man," with the band whooping it up while playing behind them.
After the show, the audience was treated to a buffet of hors d'oeuvres that were beautiful as well as tasty including mango and shrimp canapes, roasted spiced walnuts, and mini crabcakes with pesto. Lubené chatted and signed CD's, talking about her return after taking time off from music to raise her daughter, and upcoming shows. The real treat of the evening was Lubené sharing her return to performing with such enthusiasm.
Local Soundtrack: Lubene's 'Post Cards' is moody and complex
Danielle Lubene, “Post Cards From The Sea Of Me,” Little Gypsy Records
Lubene As you might guess from this CD's evocative title, Lubene is based as a singer/songwriter. Her well modulated voice and acoustic and electric guitar anchor all 10 tracks, and her lyrics have a complexity beyond those you hear on the radio.
She sings in a number of moods. The titles themselves, including "Sacred," "Cowardly Liar," and "Litterbox," show how she travels from appreciation to condemnation.
Many of these songs rock, thanks to a tight group of backup musicians. Doug Ashby of Tavern Tan adds some heavy guitar, and Tavern Tan bassist Bill Melcher melds seamlessly with her guitar parts to add texture. Drummer Mark Bohn adds solid percussion for a rock feel. Kathleen Warren contributes on backup vocals for a fuller sound.
On her Web site, Lubene said she became something of a recluse after taking a few years off to raise her daughter. There is a melancholy feel to this CD, as in "Mirror," when the young and attractive Lubene says she "comes away from her war torn face" that she has lived with all her life. This comes out as anger in some songs, or reflectively, as on the beautiful ending cut "Sweet Revelry," where she sings that everything comes out in revelation.
Lubene's Web site says she is in "a genre all her own." I would call it a mixture of genres, but an interesting one, nevertheless.
DANIELLE LUBENE MORE THAN VULNERABLE
If you only get your music from corporate radio and MTV and its satellites, there is a real limit to the kinds of female voices you're likely to hear. Usually it breaks down to bratty-yet-vulnerable (Britney, Christina), brassy-yet-vulnerable (Pink, Avril Lavigne), and vulnerable-yet-more vulnerable (Vanessa Carlton, Michelle Branch).
But despite what mass media would have you believe, there is a wide variety of women with far more complex personas than would fit into the average industry honcho's niche demographic strategy. Some good examples can be found playing around the area the next few nights.
On the local side, Danielle Lubene will bring her uniquely passionate voice to Bethlehem's Funhouse tonight as she celebrates her first full-length album "Slink".
An Allentown native, Lubene has been writing songs for quite some time, but only recently decided to take some time off from her long-held day job to seriously pursue a music career.
"It just came down to the fact that I couldn't do both," Lubene explains, referring to the conflict between her work and her art. "Something had to give, and thankfully it was the job. However, one does have to eat, and I lost all my benefits, so it's a pretty big deal. And I'm not 18, the usual time when you just don't care."
Lubene had been writing songs as an avocation since the late 1980s, even releasing a five-song EP, "E.S.P. and the Sandman," in 1994.
But as years went by, the urge to give herself completely to making music grew until the risks were outweighed by the prospect of not following her dream. "It came to the point where I said 'I will not wake up at 60 one day and say, "If only I would have," ' It was just the time."
An understandable fear accompanied her decision to break with a more secure lifestyle, but Lubene says that anxiety, along with her new freedom, actually fueled her creative processes.
"I only have this little piece of money, so it was very desperate, but I never felt so alive. I had had writer's block for quite a while, but I just exploded after that. And that fear helped it."
That turmoil Lubene refers to is present in many of "Slink's" songs, minor-key excursions that wax and wane on the connections between sensuality and spirituality.
Able backing comes from the onetime rhythm section of The Original Sins, drummer Dave Ferrara and bassist Ken Bussiere, as well as Sins keyboardist Dan McKinney (who also co-produced), Kathleen Warren and Lubene's husband, Doug Ashby, formerly of Hurry Down Sunshine.
"It's a huge risk for me because I'm not commercially oriented," she sums up. "It isn't like I'm doing it to get a steady income out of it; the motivation was that music is breathing for me. I did it because I needed to do it."
THE MORNING CALL Go Groove Thursday, June 12, 2003
Slink (Little Gypsy)
This is a confusing album! Sometimes Danielle Lubene's music is as fragile as she looks, which is an interesting illusion considering the power of her apparently well-trained voice, and sometimes it reminds me a little of the brand of punk The Wives once created. Oddly enough, when she's punkin' it up, she tends to sing just a bit to the sharp or flat side of the note, enough to make it a little uncomfortable. Maybe it's intentional, and in fact she's so good the rest of the time I'd have to assume it is. Punk ethic? Hmmm. Might be, and even when she's being mellow there's some of that ethic present, as she generally keeps things minimal and lets her voice and the mood of a minor key create the atmosphere. "One Song" has some of that and some passages filled with sound and extra tracks of Danielle's voice, and that track is the convergence of all her best traits. If she stops now, she's made that song, and that's something, but this is a raw talent just getting going. Not for everyone, Danielle Lubene's Slink may be flawed, but it has a lot of evidence of somethin' brewing.
© 2004 - DJ Johnson
“I had a dream I was kissing the devil, what does it mean?” ponders Danielle Lubené on her debut. That gives a god idea of the subject matter and the lyrical daring she has.
“April Fool” is a becalmed song with a sensuous vocal.
“My Henry Miller” has her looking for the perfect partner. The music is up-tempo and punkily giddy. The resemblance to a young Patti Smith is striking. “I want to know spiritual. I want to know dirty and primal” she sums up her yearning.
“No Way” is bright and poppy and has an irresistible melody.
The rocker “Of Purest White” makes the comparison with Patti Smith and PJ Harvey unavoidable. Lubené sings with a heated abandon that is purely her own though.
“Do You Ever” is like a song by Kate Bush. Its eerie calm hides a sharp egde.
This is a great debut.
Posted on May 23, 2004
Singer/Songwriter Danielle Lubene has a lovely voice and finds interesting and inventive ways to convey it. From the light rock of "Temptation" to the haunting folk of "April Fool" and the power alt groove on "My Henry Miller", her voice morphs from passionate lilts to tortured angst with singular ease and grace. Add into this her thought provoking lyrics and you have a young lady from Allentown, Pennsylvania that has something special going.
A packed Funhouse, which included various Lehigh Valley music luminaries, was treated to a splendid, invigorating performance by Danielle Lubene and her star studded band that included husband Doug Ashby on guitar, Bill Melcher (possibly the best bassist in the region), Dave Ferrara (Original Sins legend and current member of Herman's Hermits) on drums and Hali Heiser and Kathleen Warren singing background vocals. Danielle played tracks mostly from her new cd and a few older numbers from earlier in her career (before she took a personal hiatus). Now, in 2003, leaving the corporate world behind to totally dedicate herself to rock 'n'roll, Danielle left no doubt this was a wise decision. She belted out numbers full of raw energy and emotion very reminiscent of early Sinead O' Connor and Patti Smith. A highlight at the end of the show was a blistering cover of rockabilly icon Wanda [Jackson]. Danielle left no doubt that she is a force to be reckoned with - not just in the valley, but throughout the country. She means business.