In what is being dubbed a "mini-tour" in support of her latest CD, "After Dark," singer and songwriter Halie Loren gives several performances in Carson City and Carson Valley.
Loren's first show takes place 8-11 p.m. Friday at Plan:b Micro Lounge in B'Sghetti's. She will also play 7-10 p.m. Saturday at Wally's Hot Springs in Genoa and 5-7 p.m. Sunday at Tahoe Ridge Winery in Minden. Her first performance in the area takes place Jan. 6 at Moody's Bistro & Jazz in Truckee, Calif.
Loren presents an array of jazz, blues and pop music - covers, classics and originals - all grown from the music her parents played for her growing up in Alaska.
"I remember always having a love for music and always having a deep connection to it. I've been doing this since I was 9 or 10 and really don't remember not singing," Loren said. "Being in Alaska probably insulated me from much of the outside influences - I can't say, but otherwise I might have gone some other direction in my music."
Joining her on her mini-tour is keyboardist/pianist Matt Tredor, who has accompanied Loren since she was 14-years old.
She began performing professionally at 16, and now at 26 and with five CD's under her belt, Loren has hit her stride, traveling the world performing her songs. Sometimes she brings a trio, but for the intimate settings, Tredor is the perfect accompaniment.
"Matt is a wonderful musician and I have learned a lot from him ... and maybe he's learned some things from me, I can't say," she said. "But playing that long together allows us a lot of versatility and it works for us."
"After Dark," was released in November 2010 and is different from earlier works Loren said, in that it "has some of the eclectic aspects of live performances."
The project required a "huge effort," to meet the production deadline ahead of the CD's release in Japan.
"The process was really fun and super stressful," Loren said. "But considering the crazy time crunch it all came together very naturally and forced us to get to a stripped down process, to the heart of it and not over think everything."
The end result is a shining example of versatility including standards from the 1930s and 1940s to classics and originals. She is known for being able to make each song her own, and sings in five languages.
Audience response during live performances is loosely used as market research, so in many ways, they have a say in what songs go on an album. This, combined with Loren's own intuitive, gut response to a particular song or arrangement, influences the writing of her own songs and when arranging standards.
"There are so many songs out there, I couldn't possibly learn them all and there are some, that even if I want to try won't go there," she said. "Jazz gives me so much freedom and in other genres I may feel out a song or put a new spin on a standard and where it's a (vocal and musical) match, that is where I go.
"That moment where everything is revealed is an epiphany, as though it's been waiting for me to discover it; that it has just been hidden inside."
This resurgence of jazz as mainstream is in great part, Loren believes, due to Norah Jones' success.
"I don't know if the stars aligned or what, but she erupted nationwide and opened a genre that was suddenly more accepted as a pop genre and helped widen the horizons of both performers like myself and for audiences."
"People will say to me, 'I never liked jazz until now,'" Loren said. "I think sometimes they have given up because they received music their ears couldn't hear; I guess I'm a jazz ambassador and those words are really inspiring to hear and let me know I can't stop now ... it is joyful, otherwise there'd be no reason to be out here doing this."
Loren headlined the Ginza Jazz Festival in Tokyo in November and appeared on every major television and radio station in Japan. She plays the Blue Note and Cotton Club there in February.
Her four previous albums have been in the top 10 since June 2010 and has won a variety of awards, most recently for excellence in vocals and recording at the Just Plain Folks Music Awards 2009.
She has also received Best Vocal Jazz Album for her 2008 release, "They Oughta Write a Song," and has won the Billboard World Songwriting Competition, John Lennon Songwriting Competition and the Pacific Songwriting Competition.
"It is so fulfilling when older generations tell me how they love being taken back to a time when they were young - where they were or their memories," Loren said. "And I love to see the younger generation discovering the beauty of this music I have loved for so long."
B'Sghetti's is located at 318 N. Carson St., Carson City. Other performances will be Saturday, Jan. 8 from 7-10 p.m. at Wally's Hot Springs in Genoa and Sunday, Jan. 9 from 5-7 p.m., at Tahoe Ridge Winery in Minden. Her first performance in the area takes place Jan. 6 at Moody's Bistro & Jazz in Truckee, Calif.
To learn more about Halie Loren and to hear or purchase her music, go to halieloren.com.