Love Remains, Tal Wilkenfeld’s debut solo album for BMG, is a testament to the celebrated bassist’s unconventional journey. While a dedicated fan base may already know Tal for her work with Jeff Beck, Prince, The Allman Bros., Herbie Hancock and Mick Jagger, Love Remains reveals a new side of Tal as a songwriter and singer with skills on par with her legend-in-the making musicianship. This new album's 10 song collection displays the Australian-born, LA-based musician as a talented vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer.
The album was co-produced by Tal and Paul Stacey (Oasis, The Black Crowes) and features guitarist Blake Mills, keyboardists Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers) & Zac Rae (Death Cab For Cutie) and drummer Jeremy Stacey. Tal’s range of talents is on full display, and she achieves a stunning balance between instrumental prowess and exquisite songcraft. Jackson Browne, who offered creative guidance throughout the process of making the album, was executive producer.
With few models of an instrumentalist turned singer-songwriter, Tal has broken extraordinary new ground. As Jackson Browne acknowledged, “I can't think of another instrumentalist that has ventured into the area that Tal now has, when it comes to writing and singing songs from her own experience.”
“I began singing and writing songs with words when I first picked up a guitar at 14,” said Tal. “When I arrived in the States a couple of years later, I quickly became fixated on guitar and then the bass and I stepped away from lyric writing. My bass became both my weapon and my shield, but that ran its course. That’s when I began writing song with lyrics again and creating this album.”
After relocating stateside from her native Sydney, Australia at just 16-years-old, Tal made believers of rock royalty and fans with her uncommon combination of melodic sensibilities and technical prowess. Following the release of her instrumental debut, Transformation, Bass Player magazine’s readers’ choice poll in 2008 named her “The Year’s Most Exciting New Player,” and iconic bassist and producer Don Was presented her the publication’s 2013 “Young Gun Award.”
Determined to transition into the singer-songwriter role, Tal began writing what would become 'Love Remains.' She also lined up club gigs with her own band, debuting as lead vocalist on her own songs. Later, in her first week opening for The Who, Tal introduced the record by way of the first single “Corner Painter,” a powerful mix of intertwined baritone guitars and impassioned vocals matched by undeniable rock energy, which was also featured on Judd Apatow’s Netflix series, Love.
“Haunted Love” showcases a soul-bearing vocal performance in which Tal accompanies herself via beguiling, arpeggiated chords on a capoed 5-string bass with an orchestra to heighten the reflective lyrics: “No, you didn’t know about the ghosts left inside of me. Feeling so alone in the midst of this uncertainty.” As Pete Townshend remarks, “Haunted Love is truly a great song, touching, moving, and employs her two skills- her voice and bass. It's stupidly great. She’s created a masterpiece.”
Love Remains suggests, as Tal has said, “the abiding presence of love...or the remnants should it fail.” She’s written a confronting album that alludes to a complex and tragic romance. “The way to diminish darkness is by shining a light on it. That’s what’s so beautiful and rewarding about music.”