New Music Video: “Stars Fall on Alabama” by Tara Nevins
Filmed and produced by Jim Torres
From the Album “Wood And Stone” on Sugar Hill Records
American roots traditionalist Tara Nevins recently released ‘Wood and Stone’ through Sugar Hill Records. The album showcases Nevins’ ever-evolving repertoire and was produced by Larry Campbell at the Levon Helm Studios in Woodstock, NY. Featured guests on the album include Levon Helm, Jim Lauderdale, Allison Moorer, Teresa Williams, The Heartbeats, along with the core band of Larry Campbell, Justin Guip, and Byron Isaacs.
CMT writes, “With the wonderful fiddle groove and vividly written lyrics, Nevins gives a glimpse into her roots. Stepping out for a rare solo record (beyond her beloved band, Donna the Buffalo), she meshes her Cajun influences, unique voice, drums and steel guitars for an intriguing look at her heritage.”
One of the songs that stands out is Nevins’s version of the Jazz standard “Stars Fell on Alabama” and a music video was recently produced to highlight the song in the natural settings of Alabama.
A few years ago, living in Huntsville Alabama, Nevins was approached by director Jim Torres and was asked to adapt “Stars Fell On Alabama” for the movie he was then directing – “20 Years After” (an MTI Video). Torres states, “I was looking for a song that had romantic lyrics and a geographical reference to Alabama which is where the movie took place. I’ve always loved Ella Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong’s version of the song, and the lyrics were perfect for the movie, but I needed something a little darker, almost melancholy to match the tone of the film. I met Tara through mutual friends on the film project and we talked. I loved her music, and the thought of adapting a Jazz standard intrigued her.”
Nevins used the original lyrics and rewrote the music in an Old Time Mountain Music style. She created the new melody for the lyrics and wrote a fiddle tune as the centerpiece of the instrumental sections. Nevins has played Old Time music for over 20 years (she was a founding member of the all-female, old time/Cajun band The Heartbeats) so this came very naturally to her. She then went up to Nashville and recorded the song with Gary Paczosa.
Nevins states, “when the movie came out I put the song up on MySpace and it was put, with just an abstract picture, up on YouTube. Between the two, the song has had nearly 60,000 views and comments. I continually receive messages from folks who’ve seen “20 Years After” saying it was their favorite thing in the movie and where can they get a copy of my version of the song. I decided to put “Stars Fell On Alabama” on my new record because of that, and because I think it is beautiful and it fit perfectly with the rest of the record.”
Jim Torres had always wanted to do a video of the song and this seemed like the perfect time and idea with the release of the new record. Here is is, yet another new version of this great Jazz standard – different from all the others with an Old Time Country sound. This version is of interest to anyone who knows the song, and has had a great response from those who have heard it. It’s reference to Alabama has alot of meaning for Nevins personally and this version has seemed to touch the hearts of many listeners living in Alabama. It seemed like the perfect song from “Wood and Stone” to do a video of. Like Jim Torres says “We wanted the video to stand on its own, and let it support the music – just Tara and her fiddle and a beautiful song.”
The music video for “Stars Fell on Alabama” was created by Director/Editor Jim Torres, Assistant Director Keith Sims, and Cinematographer Daniel Beard in July of 2011 in Huntsville, Alabama.
“…….. even though I am familiar with at least two dozen other renditions of the song, it’s as though I heard it for the first time. It is stunning in its quietness.” – Amos Perrine, No Depression
“Stars Fell on Alabama” sounds like it fell from her heart and pen too, but Nevins has the capacity to take a well-known standard like this, change the melody, and perform it so ingenuously that it fits in seamlessly to the whole groove of the record.” – Acousticana Journal
““Stars Fell On Alabama,” a song originally released by Guy Lombardo and later performed by more than a hundred artists……Nevins has put her stamp on it, adding new music… and making it her own.” – Wildman Steve, The Corner News
“…….and a version of “Stars Fell on Alabama” that is now among my favorites. She has rearranged the tune magnificently and rekindled the spirit of the song.” – Cat Johnson, No Depression
“ … it’s a track that sounds like it was from the O’Brother Where Art Thou? sessions…. the haunting “Stars Fell On Alabama,” where once again Nevins shows her prowess on the fiddle” – Chuck Dauphin, Music News Nashville:
“Two surprises on the album are “Stars Fell on Alabama,” in which Nevins turns the ‘30s jazz standard into a bleak, gothic soundscape, and “Tennessee River,” an even more desolate turn recalling the best of Lucinda Williams.” – Aaron Keith Harris, Lonesome Road Review
““Stars Fell on Alabama” is another midtempo scorcher—Nevins really does well with such tunes as this, channeling a world of wounded bewilderment into a song originally written by Frank Perkins and Mitchell Parish” – David Maine, Pop Matters (July 15th)