A Not So Perfect Paradise

Bruce Von Stiers

Evelyn Cools is a folk-rock singer/ songwriter that you may or may not have heard of. She is originally from Belgium, but spent a good many years in places like London, Budapest and Hong Kong. Evelyn came to New York a while back, was there for a bit and then moved to Los Angeles. After her stint in LA, Evelyn is now based back in New York.

It was in this west coast setting that Evelyn recorded Misfit Paradise. It is a five song EP that represents Evelyn's views on life and love.

Misfit Paradise was produced and mixed by Enrique Lara. Aside from producing, Enrique has played drums for several bands and artists such as Ghost Lion and Haley Reinhart. Enrique also plays the drums on this EP. The EP was mastered by Hans DeKline. He has mastered music by U2, Lisa Loeb, Snoop Dog and many other artists. Evelyn wrote all of the songs on Misfit Paradise.

Stephen Thurston played piano for one song. His credits include performing with jazz greats Maria Schneider, Dave Liebman and Brad Goode, along with leading his own band, the Thurston Group. Will Wu played guitar on the EP. He has produced several albums and recorded with artists such as Skylar Stecker, Sophia Carson and Fifth Harmony. Micah Garrido, Laura Wall and Torin Wright provide string music on the title track of the EP. Micah is a L.A. area musician and producer, who is becoming well known for bringing forward the music of his birthplace, Guam. Torin has an extensive background as an educator and choral leader as well as a worship music leader, event coordinator and freelance performer.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many musical artists are finding creative ways to record material. But even before that, Evelyn took an interesting DIY approach to recording Misfit Paradise. Most of it was recorded in Enrique Lara's living room, with blankets covering walls and doorways to preserve the acoustics. I mentioned the string performers earlier. Each of them were recorded in different parts of the living room to give a more complete orchestral effect.

The opening song on the EP is Another Night. The song has great piano, guitar and drums that serves as a backdrop for terrific, fluid vocals. It is a love song that, according to Evelyn's notes on the song, ponders the question, “what if we never met?” Will the relationship last? Is there enough of a connection to build a relationship on? Can you let yourself go and give in to the opportunity for love that is being presented? This song reminded me of my early relationship with my wife. We met on a blind date and had an instant connection. But I didn't know if it would last beyond that first date. So I can definitely relate to the lyrics in the song.

Is there such a thing as a perfect woman, both in looks and stature? Probably not, but that doesn't stop both men and women thinking that there just might be such a person. In a way, that is what the song, Gold Woman, is about. She's very pretty, with a lot of style. But underneath, is she really all that? We want to be her, or be with her. But in the end, as the song's lyrics goes, “was she worth it?” The song has cool drums and guitar backing Evelyn's melodic vocals.

Yosemite is a beautiful ballad with solid guitar and terrific vocals. Evelyn wrote the song as an ode to Yosemite National Park, which, for her, holds a special significance for its beauty. And how we should embrace and preserve nature. Evelyn played guitar on this song along with Will Wu.

Evelyn wrote the song, Misfit Paradise, after her first move to New York. There, she found a community who took her at face value, and who embraced her and her music. That this community was fundamentally “free of judgement and valued human connection above all else.” It is another beautiful ballad with great music and vocals. Evelyn stated that she wrote the song “for all the misfits, searching for a paradise to call our own.”

Evelyn closes Misfit Paradise with the song, Soaring. It is a soft and gentle song with terrific acoustic guitar and vocals that are almost ethereal at times. Evelyn wrote the song about being able to be released from the pressure of our lives. Evelyn provides the guitar portion of the music on the song.

Honest, lyrical vocals fill the songs on Misfit Paradise. Finding love and finding a place in life are great themes that Evelyn makes seem real in her songs.

Misfit Paradise is now available at most streaming platforms and music outlets.

You will find Evelyn's official site at https://www.ecoolsmusic.com/ There you can learn more about Evelyn and hear the song Gold Woman.

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© 2020 Bruce E Von Stiers