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Review: Marci Geller Delights Crowd at Album Release Show

Friday night show packs Grounds & Sounds at UUFSB.

Among the highlights of her career, singer-songwriter Marci Geller has performed on "Live with Regis" and has toured Europe. Her latest album "Open Book" along with her performance on Friday at Grounds & Sounds also land squarely on that list of highlights.

Geller is no stranger to the local arts community. Patch introduced you to her last November after she officially launched her solo career and began recording what would become "Open Book." She has called Stony Brook her home for about 20 years – but it's not just living in the community that has made her feel welcome. "Home is made up of people, not buildings," she told the crowd on Friday night. "Thank you for being my home."

What's unique about this release is that it was "crowd funded" – meaning it was financed mostly through pre-ordered CDs, ticket sales at shows, songwriting lessons, and other contributions from fans. "This is how a lot of us are making music these days," Geller said.

Of particular note on the album is "Another Breakdown," an upbeat piano tune that belies a more serious tone of needing to quiet the impending doubt. Geller sings in the chorus: "I don't need another breakdown / I don't need another 'fall apart' / I don't need another letdown, or dances with the dark."

The song "Surf the Undertow" is about the extreme highs and lows in life, with a hopeful feel as she sings, "Today I feel lighter, the darkness has gone / Things might get better, who knew I was strong?"

For those who can appreciate a romantic French ballad with lovely harmonies, "Promets Moi" – written for a friend on the occasion of her wedding in Switzerland – is a delight.

Though not performed at the show, "Little Light" is a sweet, uplifting tune, with lyrics like "Maybe you think about the dreams that have defied us / But I see the promise of the days that lie ahead / And you can count on me."

Geller's performance featured steady, skilled percussion by Marshall Rosenberg, and also featured a number of songs from previous albums. "Not That Girl Anymore" is one such highlight that builds to a crescendo as the girl in the song gathers her resolve. Not surprisingly, it appeals to those about to take on a milestone: Geller wrote it on the cusp of her 30th birthday, yet it keeps being "more relevant," she said.

Geller's talent for songwriting shows through clearly, with the strength of her voice making Friday's show a lively, genuine, confident, and mature performance – with moments reminiscent of Sarah McLaughlan and Tori Amos as well as Nina Gordon's softer solo work, but also with a distinctive sound all her own.

Click here to download a free MP3 from Geller's new album, and visit her on the web here for upcoming show dates and more.

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