Half Notes: Avi Wisnia, “New Year” (2011)

Insistent but quiet, Avi Wisnia begins with a bracing confidentiality, gently pulling you in the pillowy reverie of “New Year.” But, just like that, Wisnia shakes himself awake as Renee Warnick’s swooning voila surrounds him, moving from the brink of resignation into a contagious confidence: “Never turn your back on the way things are. They are what they are supposed to be.” A little like Ben Folds, in that the Philly-raised New Yorker builds pop symphonies out from a skeletal piano signature, Wisnia has perfectly captured the scary uncertainty as well as the soaring optimism associated with the calendar’s turn from December to January.

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Avi Wisnia’s “New Year,” produced by Grammy-winner Glenn Barrett (Amos Lee, Melody Gardot), is featured on the just-released New Arrivals Vol. 4, a benefit project from MPress Records. Proceeds will be directed to the National Network For Youth, a homeless outreach program. Visit mpressrcords.com or nn4youth.org.

Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.