www.ambiente.us AUGUST |AGOSTO 2010
“put you on a pedestal, you are the Chemical”
Review of Stewart Lewis’s album ‘The Chemical’
By Armando Diaz
I have not enjoyed a summer album like Stewart Lewis’s The Chemical (EP) since the
likes of KD Lang’s “Invincible Summer” or Smashing Pumpkins’ track “Hummer”. Who
my brother said they rocked of course the other night in Fort Lauderdale. The Chemical
(EP) is a follow up to 2003’s Clearer and Fear of Falling. By the way an EP is like a mini
version of a full album, it usually has 3-5 tracks on it most time. Back in the day an EP
was also a single and those single had (2) tracks an “A” side and a “B” side.
Stewart Lewis is a singer-songwriter based out of New York City. His soulful mix of folk
and pop have earned him the opportunity to open for such major artists as Sheryl
Crow, Ani Difranco, Shawn Colvin, Paula Cole, Roseanne Cash, and Patty Larkin. His
musical influences include Elbow, Imogen Heap, Damien Rice, Jason Mraz, Sara
Barreilles, and The Crazy World We Live In.
The Chemical (EP) is effervescent in it’s profundity, and unapologetic in its light and
airy revelation of intimacy. You can relate to the feelings we all get swept in from time
to time along with Stewarts dreamy echo vocals and the reality of his guitar. Just
insanely perfect for summer. Burgeoning summer loves, bright feelings and warm
security blankets throughout. The first track “Gravity” is the greatest example of this,
as the range of Stewarts voice goes from deep security to high proclamations the
chorus comes in right on time, “and now somehow we found the unattainable, you and
I.” The second track, “Leave The
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Armando | Who has been
your greatest musical
inspiration and why?
Stewart | Imogen Heap,
because her lyrics are
beautiful and touching, and
her music is like a lush
landscape I can always get
Armando | Tell me how
being a father has changed
your life? Affected your talent?
Stewart |It has helped me to
make better sense of the
world, and to get out of
"myself," be more
responsible. I suppose my
songs are maturing a little
because of it.
Armando | What is your
favorite movie of all time?
Stewart | I would have to say
Harold and Maude (1971).
There is something so
wonderful about seeing such
an unlikely connection
between such mismatched
Light On” is all about the hope drawn, the waiting and questioning a heart does when it
wishes and reaches for someone that may or may not be, but you still leave the light on
just in case. “One Thing” focuses on the act of forgiveness. Break down the walls our
hearts build up through rainstorms and telephone calls, Stewart sings of pulling the
light out of that dark history and if you have the strength to break those walls down, all
he asks is one thing and that is “forgive me”. Then fourth track, “Out From Under”
actually sounded like a perfect song for a commercial for Amtrak speeding into the
distance of some American countryside, or families flying on JetBlue and having happy
reunions at airports, or a bunch of friends getting picked up form torn home situations
only to feel better once they’re all traveling in an SUV together. Overcoming whatever’s
ailing you. The album closes gracefully and powerfully with final track “The Chemical”.
This is my personal favorite, it’s the rush and passion of love, “with every breath I take
into me”, like one’s raw emotions and love for another are a chemical dependency that
“run right through me”. My favorite part is “all these days, days that may be numbered,
walk with me give me something to remember, we can be bigger now than ever…..but
you are the pedestal you are the chemical”.
This album is the sweet release of the uncomplicated, no unsolved mysteries, nothing
terribly idealistic or preachy, nothing terribly bubbly or obnoxious. Just honest human
intimacy, an easy breeze of loving expression in a world that seems to grow more in
need of it daily. The signature sunny bright and summer delights of The Chemical (EP)
are just right.
The film and TV world have been taken by Stewart’s songs, which have been featured
on show’s such as Ghost Whisperer, MTV’s Laguna Beach, Joan of Arcadia, Dawson’s
Creek, Biggest Loser, and the 20th Century Fox feature film Firehouse Dog.
Armando | I love that movie, the scene when they’re in the field of daisies and Maude is
philosophising on the world and its problems comparing it to the field of flowers. Great movie.
Armando | If you had (3) words to describe yourself what would they be?
Stewart | “creative, sensitive, and hopeful”
Armando | What is your favorite thing to stare at?
Stewart | Birds, especially masses of them, flying in formation. I know it's cliché, but they
fascinate me to no end. I could watch them for days.
Armando | What is your favorite comfort food?
Stewart | Rice pudding.
Armando | Are you in love?
Stewart | Yes. I have been with my partner for over four years, and he is a sweet, kind soul who
takes me the way I am.
Armando | When did you come out and what was that story like?
Stewart | I came out a couple years after college. no trauma there. I was lucky. I had completely
supportive family and friends. to me, being gay is like having long arms or red hair. When my
daughter sees me kissing my partner she smiles out of joy, because she is witnessing an act
of love, regardless of gender. I wish everyone had the mind of a toddler.
Armando | What was the inspiration behind the album "The Chemical"?
Stewart | I wanted to do a more intimate, stripped down record, and I think I succeeded
Video to “Come Closer” off the new album Information LP, on the HERE NOW!
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