Milwaukee-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Grace Weber is on the cusp of stardom with the release of dynamite sophomore album “The Refinery.” The 26-year-old Weber has an emotive, soulful voice that she puts to great use on an 11-track album that includes elements of pop, soul, R&B and gospel over the course of 44 very enjoyable minutes.
Weber’s early career highlights include performing on “Showtime at the Apollo” at age 16, becoming a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and appearances on “The Today Show” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Her 2011 solo debut “Hope and Heart” reached No. 8 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart and her songs were featured in Starbucks and on US Airways in-flight radio. These experiences set the stage for “The Refinery.”
“When I was touring with my band … we were talking about things that were soulful and describing them as ‘oily,’ just dripping with soul and raw and nasty grit,” Weber explains. “Then we passed this huge refinery and we said the most soulful thing would be a refinery. The name stuck with me and I started to think about how a refinery turns something raw and dirty into something of value. One this album I tried to take my own honest and sometimes painful emotions and stories and transform them into music.”
The opening tandem of “Perfect Stranger” and “Oil & Gold” is worth the purchase price by itself, and Weber later scores with “Like a Fool,” “Broken Hearted in America,” “As Long as I Wander” and “We All Need Someone.” Can’t wait to hear more from this talented young artist. (Jeffrey Sisk)