r o s e b u d r e v i e w
Record producer Nik Venet has spent most of his 40-year career in music guiding the work of the singer/songwriter, and now that his own label has begun operating that's still his top priority. From Bobby Darin to the Beach Boys (Brian, actually), from Fred Neil to Jim Croce, Venet has helped in shaping the recorded material of some of the best ever, and getting great performances down on tape.
With Evening Star, Venet's most recent projects have been producing women songwriters: Sarah Kim Wilde (Embers) and now Harriet Schock. Like Venet, Schock comes from a time when primary emphasis was placed on the song itself, the actual substance of the composition. The fact that rosebud is so intimately concerned with allowing the song and the songwriter to come through clearly and unencumbered, immediately sets it apart from nine out of ten albums of current music that become available these days.
Schock, a fine singer who accompanies herself on piano (think of some of Joni Mitchell's unadorned tracks from her classic period, as on Blue or Ladies of the Canyon), is unusually skilled at writing the personal song, and using memory details in her lyrics. The title song refers to a key plot point from the classic Orson Welles film Citizen Kane, and "Dreaming of Casablanca" also draws inspiration from the movies. The effect the cinema had on Schock throughout her life is revealed poignantly in "Marlene" and "At The Movies."
But her concerns move beyond the silver screen, as in the affecting tribute to a country music legend, "Patsy Cline," and with "You Are," as finely-crafted a love song as you are ever likely to hear. Venet can lay claim to one of the better track records over the course of his long career, and he proves once again that he was completely right by investing himself in the songwriting talent of Harriet Schock.
"Check out Rosebud by Harriet Schock, the second release on Nik Venet's new Evening*Star label. Beautifully produced by Nik Venet, Rosebud is a song cycle based on the key motif in Citizen Kane, Orson Welles' masterful 1941 movie. Schock is a strong, romantic singer. More importantly, she uses such talismanic females as Frida Kahlo, Marlene Dietrich, and Patsy Cline to conjure an aural cinema of nostalgia.
Ultimately, Schock's album is about empowerment, about self-realization. Like Venet's productions of Dory Previn, Rosebud is sophisticated, personal pop. Strikingly packaged, it features the cream of California's session players, including bassist Abraham Laboriel, guitarist Dean Parks, and arranger Jimmie Haskell. The material may be demanding, but the presentation is dreamy."
News Herald, Cleveland, Ohio
Principal Author -- Billboard Encyclopedia of Producers