Arts and Entertainment

In Langley, Piper Reva sings before she goes

Piper Reva will perform two shows in Langley before leaving the island on a national tour.  - Photo courtesy of Piper Reva
Piper Reva will perform two shows in Langley before leaving the island on a national tour.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Piper Reva

She’s got a Chevy motor- home named “Honey” and a red guitar named “Ruby Rain.”

And that’s all Piper Reva needs to sing her heart out for folks from the Northwest to Key West and points in between.

After laying down the last of her tracks for her latest CD of live music at Soundtrap Studios in Freeland, Reva is getting ready to set off on a tour this month with two last shows on the island before revving up the Chevy Honey-mobile.

The singer-songwriter will play the South Whidbey Commons Coffeehouse Bookstore at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 7 and Mukilteo Coffee Roasters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15.

Reva writes songs that hold nothing back, and she’s been gracefully gathering a fan base that appreciates the raw and honest delivery of her voice.

“I play my tunes from the soul,” the singer said.

“I play my red hand-painted guitar (that’s Ruby Rain) and together, we are a seductive avalanche of emotion that has thus far been uncategorized.”

Reva is proud of her ability to defy categorization, though some critics have bandied about the names of artists such as Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, Tom Waits and Janis Joplin to describe what she does with her voice onstage.

“I hear so many different: ‘You sound like ...’ It’s mind- blowing,” Reva said.

But her style is whatever she wants it to be, she said. She can be bluesy, soulful, kind of folky, country or straight out of the ’40s.

“I just love music so much and making sounds, no matter how it comes out,” she said.

On the new album, as yet unnamed, Reva has gathered a variety of live recordings from her shows in the past year.

“Some of it goes back to my first songs, and some of it is new stuff,” she said.

“I wanted to put out a live record because my first record was more subdued (“The Blizzard and the Matador”) and I’m not subtle. My live shows are all over the place, and I wanted to share some of that playful, loud, out-of-control, flawed-but-fun honest depiction of me onstage,” she added.

Garrett Lyons, the music critic for Verbicide Magazine, described Reva this way: “One listen and one look at singer/songwriter Piper Reva is all it takes to realize that there is something different about her. The sound is completely organic and comes from a place in the soul that few singers reach.”

Reva strikes one as a bohemian rhapsody of an artist — doused, as she is, in bright colors and romantic metaphors. Besides music, Reva is also a fine artist, and was a creative designer while living in Florida, from where she hails. She is a painter and muralist who now designs her own album covers and posters. To get an idea of the seed that has sprouted such music, one can go to her artist’s website — click here — and read her biography. Her introduction reads like something from a Jack Kerouac novel.

“Named after an airplane. A city-girl-gone-swamp-dweller, world-traveler, thrill-seeker, singer/songwriter, guitar player, joy-bringer, philosopher, horseback rider, grandparent-lover, Spanish-speaker, lucid-dreamer, pillow-cuddler, clean joke-teller, amber-wearer, boot-stomper, culture-craver, apple-eater, friend-maker, self-surpriser, a time student.”

Reva said what folks have to look forward to with her is her purring like a kitten, howling like a freight train, honking like a goose and mad with a stage show full of bloopers, guts, glory and freedom.

When the Chevy Honey leaves in January, the rest of the country will get a taste of the indomitable Reva spirit.

The Reva tour heads north to Conway for a CD release party at the Conway Muse on Jan. 22, and then heads south toward New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and, eventually, Key West, Fla. She said she’ll be playing all manner of venues, from loud and crazy bars in the city to little cozy pubs tucked away in the mountains of Georgia. Then she’ll be going on to New York and other states before making her way back across the country again to her cabin in the Whidbey Island woods by April.

“I’m just going for it,” Reva said of taking off on the tour.

“I’ve got a long way to go as a musician, but I just have to stay confident.”

Hear live recordings of Piper Reva with a click here. The show on Friday at the coffeehouse is by donation, and proceeds will go to fund Reva’s tour and record release. Admission to the show at Mukilteo Coffee Roasters is $5.

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