get to know her...
Imagine if Brian Wilson and Joni Mitchell wrote and recorded together. The resulting music might sound a lot like Paige Calico, lyrically elegant songs with sweet melodics and rich, lush harmonies. Here on her first solo collection after time with the duo The Dwells, comes an EP of six delicately crafted songs, all rendered with resplendent Paige-sung harmonies. Like Joni and Brian and few others, Paige excels at singing layers of vocals, evoking that spirit of peace and harmony, a timelessly intimate sound that forever sings of Laurel Canyon. Her music is both reminiscent of the past but also bravely new, creating a poignant hybrid of mystic alternative Americana.
Born and raised in West Milford, New Jersey, just a car drive from the lights of Broadway, she sang and danced as soon as she could walk. Recognizing her talent and love of music, her parents gave her a solid musical education from the start. West Milford was chosen because it had one of the best music programs in the region; she studied music from the age of eight to seventeen with Doug Heyburn. She studied voice as well as piano, guitar, sang in multiple choirs, and starred in many musicals. Inspired by great singers of the past, she absorbed the grace and greatness of timeless sirens such as Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. The haunting soulfulness of their voices, and the way they delivered a lyric, forever impacted her own music.
Paige spent weekends at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). On Saturdays she would be there learning theory and standards. She lived and breathed music non-stop.
She enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston at 18, where she studied voice as well as songwriting, poetry and the music business. She formed a duo with fellow Berklee student Matthew Bean called The Dwells. They wrote and self released two full length albums, gigged frequently in and around Boston, and on breaks toured along the East and West coast. Upon graduating, The Dwells embarked on a cross country tour in an old Chevy Coachman that the two of them and her father refinished.
Paige first fell in love with the Golden State while visiting Los Angeles at 15 for a singing and acting showcase. But it wasn’t until she was living in Maine after a long cold winter of reclusion and writing that she decided to pack her bags and drive across country solo for an extreme change.
It was on that drive that she wrote some of the songs that comprise this, her first solo album. “The Hard Way” was the first she wrote soon upon leaving the East Coast, while “Haunting Me” emerged after a sleep full of nightmares while crashing at a friends place. With deep colors of bluegrass, folk and Americana intertwining, she knew they were ripe for rich harmonies.
Soon a crop of six songs were polished and ready to record. Co-arranging with producer Devon Geyer (of the band Decorations), they spent six months crafting the record. Unlike the two previous albums she recorded quickly, this one was allowed to slowly simmer and grow. “This was my first album on my own,” she said, “and I knew it had to be right. So I took the process really slow. Nothing was rushed …it’s what I needed. I am taking that lesson for my life too, not to rush things, especially self discovery.”
In addition to singing all the lead and harmony vocals, Paige plays acoustic guitar. Geyer covers electric guitars and bass, with Mike Brown & Burleigh McDowell on drums, Dylan Zmed on mandolin, and Brad Snow on keyboards. The beautiful photography throughout is by the legendary Henry Diltz. The album was engineered by Geyer, mixed by Mario Borgatta, and mastered by Gentry Studer.
Crying Diamonds is out now.