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Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands / Press

"Crystal Bright is, hands down, the most fearless and original music artist currently working within the social orbit of Greensboro...The Absolute Elsewhere, which was released in November, is Bright’s most introspective, deliberate and cerebral work to date."

“The music of Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands is not easily pigeon-holed. From gypsy jazz, to klezmer rave-ups, to Danny Elfman-esque gothic soundscapes, the music forges a dark yet whimsical path.”

“The music of Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands is the sort that can only begun to be described by listing other styles of music. First, start with old-timey. I could name-drop Gogol Bordello, Jason Webley, The Crow Quill Night Owls, and other carnivalistic freight-train drifters and associated rattletrap ruckus. There’s certainly a horizontal stripe of Burton/Elfman-via-Django Reinhardt-bonkers in there. The band calls their sound “Kaleidophrenic Cabaret,” I call it “a colony of bats drunk on apricot moonshine set loose upon the Stringband Jamboree.””

"Jane Siberry and Danny Elfman record a Gypsy Folk soundtrack to a Slavic noir detective movie starring Tom Waits as the gumshoe and Kate Bush as the dame."

“Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands supply unpredictable, jazzy exaltations.”

“With her other-worldly songs that sound like the sound track to your strangest dreams, singer-songwriter Crystal Bright is a bewitching original force on the rise.”

“It’s like Enya woke up in a vaudevillian nightmare wonderland.”

“She and the four members of her band crafted one dark poetic soundscape after another. Her songs tend to eschew traditional songwriting structure, leading you down wonderful twists and turns. The band alternated between moody numbers and infectious danceable pieces. Ms. Bright's music may be dark, but her stage presence was very charming and offbeat.”

“Bright, an ethnomusicologist turned cabaret songstress, writes exceptionally catchy songs, drawing on influences amassed from the many ethnic song forms she studied while getting her masters degree. Having played in ensembles ranging from Balinese Gamelan to Mariachi ensembles, she flawlessly combines these influences with cabaret and gypsy jazz, resulting in a uniquely charming collection of songs...The talent, energy, and diversity of The Silver Hands is astounding. They grabbed hold of the audience from the opening note of their theatrical set, pulled them intimately close, and would not let go. Every eye was transfixed on the band for their 90-minute set, heads bobbed to the deep groove the band implied, and gracious applause followed every song.”

“Intricate and musically challenging, “Muses and Bones” is elaborate and haunting, with the vocals of Ms. Bright taking the listener on a macabre but beautiful trip through her imagination. Utilizing accordions, muted trumpets, organs, musical saws and other unusual instruments, Bright and her musical cohorts create a world that is dark and dreamy, timeless and otherworldly.”

“(Crystal Bright) stitches together a wonderfully spooky sound via her spectral, pitch-perfect wail against an arsenal of exotic instruments... Or possibly, she just wants to challenge the listener with unconstrained theatrical pop weirdness for weirdness’ sake, simply because she has the talent to do so. The amazing thing about Muses & Bones, however, is that its take on weird is really good. It manages to have both feet planted firmly in the avant garde while exploring interesting melodic and rhythmic ideas that remain accessible, if sometimes a little creepy, all throughout. By the first time you hear Bright really exert her stratospheric range on “Drowned Out,” you were sure she had already pushed her voice to its peak on the opener’s climax. But that’s what Muses & Bones does; it challenges to the very end, expanding the listener’s tolerance for the bizarre with the introduction of every new sound and every ghostly touch of vocal reverb.”

“Crystal Bright takes music history and her own impressive technique on various of instruments and creates a dream-like (sometimes nightmarish) world that conjures and contorts the past more than it continues it. It’s got an old-time swing, elements of different strains of European folk, but it also has its own rollicking spectacle, and in the middle of it is the narcotic, dramatic air of Bright’s vocals. Bright renders real emotion, equal parts isolation, disappointment, and budding hope, out of sounds that seem mystical, even otherworldly...”

“Muses and Bones is possibly the most musically accomplished album by an unsigned group that this reviewer has ever heard. The album descends in tone from a whimsical peak of twee musicalism into a gorgeously dark arena of sweeping chords, building motifs and consummate musicianship throughout. Recommended.”

“Crystal Bright is a siren with an accordion, a delight for music lovers and a godsend for those who miss the Dresden Dolls sound. Wonderfully quirky.”

“Pigeonholing Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands‘ new disc, Muses and Bones, is tough. Bright’s theatrical voice and reedy accordion lead the way for a bizarre mélange of styles including polka, gypsy folk, old French parlor songs, cabaret, and even a touch of Latin flair. The entire album is fueled by the reedy sound of accordions from another era. It’s easy to imagine Bright at the turn of the twentieth century, in a smoky cabaret full of deviants, or entertaining the crowds on a Coney Island sideshow.”

“Dark, whimsical scenes accompanied by the band’s campy, carnival-like music create dream-like tableau. A little girl in a white gown plays a sequence of shrill notes over and over on a toy piano —even after a beating from her angry father. An older girl is locked away in a golden birdcage. In the background of several scenes, she never sings. Bright’s operatic voice teems with ethereal beauty. And then there’s the music - the eerie whistling of the saw, the slow and raspy breaths of an accordion, the eclectic sounds of a gypsy punk-rock cabaret. The shadow of oppression is ever-present: a lanky figure in a black overcoat, brimmed hat and bird-like beak mask. He slowly creeps around the stage, ultimately making his way to the gallery where he lurks from row to row and stares, at least it seems, into each spectator’s soul. The barrier between fiction and reality is broken.”

“Crystal Bright has wandered just about everywhere, it seems, and she likes to cram all of her travels into her songs. This album uses the loping rhythms of the Roma as her base, grafting all manner of ideas to that fluid and engaging style. Lovely, stirring and generally enthralling. Bright's breadth of sound is almost unbelievable, and this album moves along with power, grace and style. Must remember to breathe. In a moment.”

“I like what I like, and I am not trying to be something specific. I don’t like labels and genres. Everyone is always trying to put people in a box so they can understand them, I guess. I am not really interested in doing that; it’s not authentic to me. You can always get stuck in a box. I write from the heart, and I write what I like. It is what it is....(as quoted by Crystal Bright)”

“The music here doesn’t rely on local geography – or, to be more accurate, any one geography. Swirling carnival waltzes and blaring border canciónes inhabit the same folk-lore turf as Bright’s noir-ish forest-friendly narratives, which lean toward topics surrounding the pagan and mystical side of feminine power.”

“Muses and Bones is an ethereal collection with a chilly sparseness and an unusual mix of styles, from gypsy folk and carnivalesque blues to the kind of gothy pop both Siouxsie Sioux and Adele Adkins might dig. — T. Ballard Lesemann”

“The closest approximation to Crystal Bright’s haunted incantations is that of another North Carolina native: Tori Amos. As audacious of a comparison as that might seem, it’s not only her vocal ability that approaches that of Amos, but the raw emotion with which she delivers it.”

“Taster track is the startling Especially Your Mother, vocals swoop and whisper while the melody gallops along on the back of a crazed Eastern European burlesque show vibe. Taking inspiration like a magpie steals silver, you will hear echoes of PJ Harvey and Bjork alongside Cirque de Soleil and ancient tales of folklore told in the light of campfires – you know the ones we mean, where stuff doesn’t end happily ever after. You’ve been warned.”

“Singer, composer and multi-instrumentalist Crystal Bright's music defies easy categorization. It's influenced heavily by her studies in both cultural anthropology and ethnomusicology and it's good--really good. Crystal Bright & The Silver Hands has a new CD, Muses and Bones and a unique CD release show is in the works. It's a dark, whimsical, multi-media performance and art production titled "Illuminating and Transcending the Shadow". Crystal talks life, music and the meaning behind that provocative title with TAUC host David Ford.”

"Her bio rattled off a plethora of instruments to be expected -- accordion, musical saw, a Ugandan harp called an adungu, piano, various percussive instruments -- with the concomitant international influences. But what was unexpected was her main instrument: her voice. And WHAT a voice!"...

“...She is genuinely beautiful and has this great aura. My mind flashed to that scene in Dogma with Alanis Morissette, where everyone that looks into her eyes feels peace and love... It was time for Crystal to take the stage. Her voice is ethereal and eerily haunting. Her music is a cacophony of influences that ranges from dark and broody to carnivalesque. It’s hard to pigeon-hole such a unique sound, and from the front row, I can tell you that Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands are a breath of fresh air...”

“Crystal Bright (Musician, health counselor, writer and director) It’s been years since Crystal Bright seriously pursued her interest in theater, instead focusing on music and holistic health counseling. In addition to independently offering piano, voice and accordion lessons, she plays with Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands. As part of this year’s Fringe Festival, Bright wrote and directed Illuminating and Transcending the Shadow, a play about overcoming self-doubt and self-oppression...”

"What might quickly sound like the go-to house band for a Tim Burton film is an accomplished mix of carnival atmosphere, jazz, world flavors, and a chanteuse that sings part old time swing music with pop sensibilities. The music is a wide variety of instruments, accordion and adungu to name a few."

"Crystal Bright has an amazingly rich voice, haunting and melodic. She draws you in and makes you want more even when the music is eerie and chills run up and down your spine. The genre of music defies description, you either love them or hate them. Partly dark carnivale, partly quirky carnvial with use of items Ive never seen before. Definately try to see them live because though the recorded versions are good, NOTHING compares to watching them perform and hearing how brilliant they are."

"...The music can best be described as mixture of pre-rock genres. Blues, jazz and vaudeville sounds put together using accordions, musical saws, keyboards, guitar, drums and bass. The band is currently getting set to release their follow up L.P, Muses and Bones..."

"Imagine entering a burlesque show but instead of dirty, whimsical jokes, folktales are narrated, and instead of the audience crying out for Crystal Bright’s lingerie, it cries for the saw, one of Bright’s instruments that imitates a windy, melancholy whistle. The sound is a transcontinental brothel of folk cabaret fables, filled with circus loners and angry gypsies that finger nylon strings and bang fire buckets with rusty spoons..."

“While hard to categorise, the lyrics and melodies on the debut album portray the world as a dark and strange (and often funny) place deeply connected to fables and imagination. So we could say twisted carnival folk anyone? Experimental, creepy vaudeville perhaps? However, you choose to describe it, download the second track off the album Little Match Girl, a gorgeous track that emphasizes lead singer Crystal Bright’s angelic voice.”

“Hmmm…so this is what it would sound like if Kate Bush were to genetically fuse with Danny Elfman and Dresden Dolls in some strange biological experiment. The song features a Theremin (actually a saw) and an off-center, Nightmare Before Christmas piano accompanying a singer whose voice soars and sinks while singing well-written words making the comparison easy. “Toy Hammer” is a slightly off-center, creepy (“Ghosts in the parlor”) but sexy (“Warm cherry pie dripping down my thighs”) track from their upcoming self-recorded debut. It’s a song that will appeal to both the Goths and the Freaks and apparently points in between as the North Carolina Symphony is collaborating with Crystal Bright to arrange “Toy Hammer,” for the Symphony’s New Year’s Eve program at Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, NC. Not bad for a debut.”

“When I listen to CB&TSH I’m thinking a number of descriptors: operatic, carnival, vaudeville, war-of-the-worlds and freak-show. I truly mean that in the best of all possible worlds! There are so many elements to this music that it’s truly hard to pigeon-hole. CB&TSH has sounds that are straight out of a sci-fi epic and a carnival thriller. This is a soundtrack for those who follow a free-spirited muse and are quite ready to pick up stakes and travel to the next venue for escape and fresh opportunity. The music and vocals take you on a wild adventure where your closest confidant just might be the donkey-boy or the sharp-tongued sword-swallower. Cast your lot with the clowns and the closely adjoined sisters and you will soon discover that these cast-offs are now your only family and true home. Yes, you are home, finally.”

“Vaudeville, circus music, minstrel … it’s tough to pin down exactly what Greensboro’s Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands is, but it’s easy to see Bright’s eclectic musical background is at the forefront of the band’s truly unique tunes.“It’s kind of a cross between Winger and The Kinks,” multi-instrumentalist Taylor Bays joked. But Bays isn’t far off. In fact, Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands shares some similarities with The Kinks’ notoriously theatrical Preservation albums...”

“Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands have a maddeningly eclectic sound. This band is truly difficult to put a label on. Depending on the song being played, one could describe them using a variety of descriptions ranging from circus nightmare theme to Spanish traditional song to experimental noise. The band is composed of Crystal Bright playing accordion, keyboard, saw, and whatever other little toy she decides to pick up (There’s one instrument that looks like a big hamburger that she hits with mallets.), Pete Lewis on the drums, Charles Kurtz on upright bass, and Diego Diaz on guitar, toothbrush, and electric lapsteel. Definitely a hell of a wall of sound. Crystal Bright is an amazing multi-instrumentalist Badass with the voice of a damn banshee. -Taylor Bays ”

"Good songs, good performances, very nice sonic embellishments, definitely one of the best albums anyone around here has produced in a long while." -Lee Wallace (regarding the first CD release)

Lee Wallace - Lee Wallace

“So where to begin? Words that come to mind listening to this are, (deep breath..) carnivals, mariachi, Kate Bush, musicals, Tim Burton, Goldfrapp, burlesque, Calexico, Eastern Europe gypsies, Gogol Bordello, Jazz, Devotchka, old timey, cabaret, fables, dark fairy tales and a hundred others, really. I could go on. It is a very intriguing record indeed and almost impossible to categorise, but hopefully you’ve got an idea of what this may sounds like. It’s a record for freaks and thinkers, healers and hippies, the cool and the curious and for people who just want a little more, or just want something, even if they don‘t know what it is exactly. The playing is majestic, the atmospheres convincing and compelling and the overall sound is simply marvellous. At times dark, at times playful, its mysterious and beguiling and one can only assume Tim Burton hasn’t heard her yet, or she would already be known, at least to fans of his. A splendid release. It's hard to believe she's unsigned”

“Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands toe a fascinating line, making for either an uncommonly dignified circus sideshow or a melodramatic, gorgeous Eastern European street performance. Think Tori Amos with Tom Waits' sense of humor, or maybe a Tim Burton film with the steampunk quotient maxed. Their recent Muses and Bones is immersive and beguiling, alternating between reckless klezmer and enormous gothic ballads.”

“It is a type of music that defies categorization, really. Although the unique stylings of the band Crystal Bright and the Silver hands call their sound Kaleidophrenic Cabaret, still, it is a combination of the sounds and passions of international cultures that blend together in a perfect synchronicity. At times, gypsyesque, and at other moments, Flamenco, old timey, or cabaret, the standout quality of the band’s sound always surprises...”

““Well, I’m 29 and an Aries.” A slight chuckle comes through the line as Crystal Bright begins to tell about herself. “Just kidding.” But in all seriousness, according to the stars, 2010 should be a great year for the Greensboro musician, originally from Mount Pleasant. Her horoscope says Bright’s April birthday is supposed to make things very constructive, and whether or not you believe in that sort of thing, a busy and productive year is exactly what Bright is having. The ex-Albina Savoy member’s latest project began about a year ago, a phoenix of sorts, rising out of the ashes of what was a bleak time for Bright. Like the mythological creature whose cry is supposed to be like a beautiful song, the end became the beginning for Bright....”

“With a truly genre-bending sound and songs that feature unconventional instruments such as the Ugandan harp, Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands have no problem keeping the attention of listeners. Led by Bright, who holds a masters degree in Ethnomusicology, this Greensboro, NC based band has spent last year touring the country in support of their record Muses and Bones. Notion Music is happy to spotlight Crystal Bright for our YOU ARE NEXT feature, and we had a chance to sit down with the singer and multi-instrumentalist to chat about her music and ambitions.”

“From its rollicking, almost ska basslines, to the accordion accompaniment and Ms Bright's dramatic, showy vocals, Muses & Bones makes a noise that's nigh-on impossible to pin down. One minute it's sashaying down by the Seine, the next it's in a Brixton blues club, then a Weimar cabaret or playing footsie with Leigh Bowery while watching the Cockettes deconstruct 60s politics in a 'Frisco dive. And that's just in the opening trio of Especially Your Mother, Drowned Out and The Misplaced Zygote: Down the Wrong Chimney, which cries out to the imagined union of Scott Walker and Kate Bush. Expect to find Crystal trying to get her Silver Hands on you in the darker reaches of some sprawling festival long after the headline acts have been packed off back to their comfy hotels. This is art cabaret rather than raucous rabble rousing, all tinged with the minor chord changes and hints of vocal melancholy...”

“On the album "Muse and Bones," Crystal Bright's voice is clear and theatrical. She plays accordion, saw, keyboards, adungu, concertina, and bombo. Reviewers have a hard time describing her music, so they try to evoke a sense of mood instead, comparing her sound to "dark fairy tales" and a "Coney Island sideshow." Bright and her band, The Silver Hands, join host Frank Stasio to play live and discuss what influences their music.”

“Since their debut in 2010, CB&TSH have delighted audiences and critics with their unique neo-vaudevillian style. Crystal Bright, the band’s leader and chief songwriter, has travelled the world extensively studying and performing various forms of ethnic music. CB&TSH is the distillation of these experiences; Gypsy-folk and Eastern European traditions fuse with elements of Spanish cantata, French waltz, and Cajun jazz to create an interesting and enchanting brand. Lilting but powerful, feminine and assertive, and impressively ranged, Bright's vocals float, bounce, warble, and soar across a variety of tempos and arrangements. The performance is both haunting and playful, and most songs include a include a lyrical narrative that meshes well with Bright’s operatic tendencies.”

““I find the beautiful in the macabre,” Greensboro songstress Crystal Bright says. Much of Bright’s music deals with mythology, folk tales and dark, foreboding topics written in minor keys. But there is also a whimsical element to her work. It’s one of the things that drew Sydney Vigotov to Bright’s music. Vigotov, creator of the Castaway Cabaret , a vaudeville performance troupe, saw it as the perfect centerpiece and backdrop for her upcoming project, “All Hallows’ Evening. Premiering Friday at the Blind Tiger, the Cirque du Soleil-type event will feature acrobatics, fire-spinning, aerialists, burlesque, LED hooping, vaudeville and more, with live music by Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands.”

“Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands offer a wildly inventive sound that's nearly impossible to describe. Led by the accordion-playing Bright, the Greensboro, N.C.-based group creates hauntingly beautiful musical mayhem that's like the aural equivalent of a Tim Burton film. Expect gypsy-like melodies combined with flashes of Kate Bush and Nick Cave.”

“Crystal Bright is all about theater and art, and that makes her music slightly less easy to pigeonhole and more esoteric in its nature. Here she is with "Drowned Out," - a pleasant kind of bonkers.”

"Crystal's music is funny and interesting. I like the sound and the instruments, like the piano, drums, guitar, accordion, saw, and concertina. I like how the music passes away. I like the stories. I like the music. I like the ending of every one. I feel the beat in my heart. I like how it comes out of her mouth. It makes me feel like I want to dance. I like the words."

anonymous six year old - Crystal's music