Tal Wilkenfeld is a musical marvel; the kind of dynamic young talent whose fresh vision and uncanny intuition puts a whole new perspective on an age-old art form. While many people know Tal as the masterly bassist with Jeff Beck and her high-profile guest appearances with legends from Mick Jagger to Herbie Hancock, music fans are about to discover an entirely new side of Tal as a vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. On her forthcoming vocal debut album [Spring 2019 BMG] which is available to pre-order on PledgeMusic, Tal’s range of talents are on full display, achieving a stunning balance between instrumental prowess and exquisite song craft, quickly captivating the ear and soul. Tal says of her journey:
“I began singing and writing songs with words when I first picked up a guitar at 14. 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. “Speaking music” was a very natural way for me to express myself. 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.”
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.” Befriending Browne became key to her development, as he offered creative guidance and is credited her executive producer on the album. “Compositionally, it’s incredible, and she succeeded in singing really honestly and emotionally.”
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 named her “The Year’s Most Exciting New Player” in 2008, and iconic bassist and producer Don Was presented her the publication’s “Young Gun Award” in 2013.
Tal made her bones sitting in with The Allman Brothers and playing with Chick Corea. But it was Tal’s work with Jeff Beck, especially at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival, which highlights Beck bowing to Tal during her now legendary bass solo that helped the world first discover her.
Throughout numerous tours with the guitar legend, she also performed alongside Mick Jagger, Jimmy Page, Steven Tyler, David Gilmour, Sting, Buddy Guy, Billy Gibbons, and many others. She dazzled millions at the 2015 Grammy Awards by accompanying Pharrell Williams and Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer. Soon, everyone from Prince, Ringo Starr, Brian Wilson, and Joe Walsh to Keith Urban, Toto, Macy Gray, and Ryan Adams would seek her out for studio sessions. Todd Rundgren, upon working with Tal, observed, “Tal is more than simply good at music. She is kind of a phenom in a sense she is born to it. It’s something that is sort of like almost a genetic mutation.”
Determined to begin her transition to singer-songwriter, Tal began writing her debut vocal album. She also started lining up club gigs with her own band, assuming vocal duties for the first time (save for a lead vocal performance while on tour with Herbie Hancock). But it was when Tal landed the opening slot on The Who’s 2016 North American tour—the result of sending Pete Townshend her new music—that widespread audiences first got a glimpse of her as a singer and songwriter.
In her first week opening for The Who, Tal introduced the record by way of the debut single, “Corner Painter,” a powerful mix of intertwined baritone guitars and impassioned vocals, which was featured on Judd Apatow’s Netflix series, Love. “’Corner Painter’ was the first song I recorded with the band that appears on the record. I knew after that song that we had to go in and cut the rest with the same ensemble.” The album features keyboardist Benmont Tench (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), guitarist Blake Mills, drummer Jeremy Stacey, and Tal co-produced it with Paul Stacey.
While touring with the Who, Tal stopped by Paste Studios and performed an unreleased song from the upcoming record called “Under The Sun”. It acquired over 2 million plays on YouTube before any digital release of the song. On December 14th, Tal released it online as a teaser to the album. Pete Townshend said: “Under The Sun is one of the best songs I’ve heard in years. It’s mesmeric, and I just love the sheer poetry of it all, the lyrics are spiritual and searching. A jewel, truly.”
Taking this exciting musical journey with Tal will both resonate within your core and inspire new possibilities when it comes to matters of the heart. Tal’s New album will be released in