“Ward plumbs this deep well in a way that feels so intuitively right, it’s remarkable no one has done it before.” – The New York Times
Singer/songwriter Eleri Ward will headline her first solo concert at New York’s City Winery on Thursday, February 2 at 7:30 PM to perform selections from her new album Keep A Tender Distance from GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS. Tickets, which are $20-$30, are available HERE. Keep A Tender Distance – the sublimely introspective folk guitar exploration of Stephen Sondheim’s singular musical theater canon – is currently available in digital and streaming formats. The CD edition will be released on February 24 and is now available for pre-order. The album is the follow-up to A Perfect Little Death, her viral hit debut take on the Sondheim catalog. “The Tender Tour,” her upcoming string of national concert dates, visits major markets throughout the country, including Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Nashville and Philadelphia. Stream or download the album, or pre-order the CD, at eleriward.lnk.to/KeepaTenderDistance.
Eleri’s 2023 concert itinerary features shows in Boston, MA (2/1, City Winery), Washington, DC (2/3, Studio K at The Kennedy Center), Red Bank, NJ (2/4, The Vogel @ Count Basie), Burlington, VT (2/6, Higher Ground Showcase Lounge), Portsmouth, NH (2/7, 3S Artspace), Philadelphia, PA (2/8, City Winery), Cincinnati, OH (2/10, Ludlow Garage), Nashville, TN (2/11, City Winery), Chicago, IL (2/12, City Winery), Kansas City, MO (2/14, recordBar), Davenport, IA (2/15, Raccoon Motel), Milwaukee, WI (2/16, Colectivo Coffee), and Indianapolis, IN (2/17, The Cabaret). For ticketing info please visit Eleri’s website HERE.
According to The New York Times, “Among the qualities that Eleri Ward, a preternaturally gifted young singer whose guitar-based interpretations of Sondheim lit up last year’s brilliant album A Perfect Little Death, and whose follow-up collection, Keep a Tender Distance, captures in her performances is the vast, unquenchable longing at the heart of the master’s work. She has fused this emo Sondheim register with a familiar coffeehouse folk sound, adding delicate fingerpicking guitar accompaniment to support her limber, expressive soprano.”
Eleri is coming off a triumphant national tour this summer opening for global superstar Josh Groban, alongside the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. She then launched right into the Off-Broadway production Only Gold at New York’s MCC Theater, created by Kate Nash, Andy Blankenbuehler,and Ted Malawer.
Keep A Tender Distance builds on its predecessor, yet for the new volume Eleri has profoundly expanded, deepened and matured her emotional takes on these theater standards. She brings her trademark swirling harmonies and lush phrasing to another 14 Sondheim compositions. Several selections can currently be heard on Broadway in the acclaimed revival of Into the Woods (“Stay with Me,” “Agony,” “I Know Things Now,” “No One Is Alone”), in addition to the recent remounting of Company (“Another Hundred People,” “Marry Me a Little”), and the high-profile returns of Merrily We Roll Along (“Not a Day Goes By”) and Sweeney Todd (“Johanna”). Along the way, she also brings her hypnotic interpretive sense to numbers from A Little Night Music (“The Miller’s Son”), Assassins (“Unworthy of Your Love”), and Sunday in the Park with George (“Move On”).
Keep A Tender Distance is produced by Allen Tate and Eleri Ward, and arranged by Eleri Ward, with string arrangements by Ellis Ludwig-Leone.
After gaining a viral TikTok following, Eleri first released A Perfect Little Death on Ghostlight last year to great acclaim, and several sold-out shows at New York’s Joe’s Pub. The album was called “a harmonious marriage of musical theater and indie folk music, with hauntingly beautiful arrangements” by Forbes and “an incandescent new record, something genuinely new” from American Theatre Magazine. John Platt of WFUV Radio hailed the album as a “breathtaking, life-affirming gift.” A Perfect Little Death is currently available on vinyl, CD and all streaming platforms.
“Making this second album has been entirely different than the first in many ways,” Eleri explains, “first of which is: collaboration. A Perfect Little Death was recorded completely on my own, I arranged each song alone, and while it was mixed and mastered by my talented friend, Tom Deis, I had very clear ideas for how I wanted everything to be. With this new record, I created the arrangements myself, but went into each studio session with an open mind of what each song could ultimately be. My producer, Allen Tate, was an amazing sounding board for new ideas when I didn’t have clarity off the bat for the song we were doing in the moment. On that note, working with Ellis Ludwig-Leone on string arrangements brought me so much joy, taking the six songs he worked on to a place my brain could never have imagined on my own. I went into recording this album with a lot of open space, not wanting to confine myself into any set arrangement, and that allowed for these collaborations to really bring everything to the next level.”
“I pushed myself when it came to guitar and tried to take my chord choices to new places,” Eleri continues. “Obviously there are string arrangements on six of the tracks which is a whole new world for me, and I also have a mix of electric guitar, keyboard, and banjo added to this album. I believe the heartspace of how I connect to this music remained the spine of how I created each of these arrangements, but how they came out and landed are far more versatile.”
“In order to choose the songs for this second collection,” she concludes, “I go for the compositions I love, feel connected with, and hear the arrangements for in my head. Inspiration never leads me astray, so that’s what I follow. These were the songs that spoke with the most clarity and passion.”
ELERI WARD is a New York City-based actor, singer, and musician whose original pop music has been called “soaring” (Nexus Music Blog), “astonishing” (Rising Artists), and “dreamy” (Neon Music). Her most recent EP, Friction, was released in 2021. She has been singing and acting since she was eight years old, and has always strived to carve out her own space with the uniqueness she brings to the theater. Eleri studied songwriting at Berklee College of Music before transferring and graduating from The Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Musical Theater and an emphasis in Songwriting, which shows itself clearly in the way she has taken on the Sondheim canon. www.eleriward.com @eleriward
GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings – building a library of over 200 records over the past 22 years, featuring some of the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway’s brightest stars. Founded by Grammy Award winner Kurt Deutsch, Ghostlight has won Grammy Awards for The Band’s Visit, The Book of Mormon, In the Heights and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. Ghostlight has also released solo albums from Patti LuPone, Kelli O’Hara, Sutton Foster, Billy Porter, and more. The label continues to support the new generation of musical theater composers and has developed extensive relationships with Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChiusa, and David Yazbek, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pasek & Paul, Tom Kitt, Joe Iconis, and Shaina Taub. Ghostlight Records is part of the Arts Music division at Warner Music Group.
ELERI WARD “KEEP A TENDER DISTANCE” TRACK LIST
1. Merrily We Roll Along
2. Stay with Me
3. Unworthy of Your Love
6. I Remember
7. Another Hundred People
8. The Miller’s Son
9. I Know Things Now
10. Not a Day Goes By
11. Not While I’m Around
12. No One Is Alone
13. Marry Me a Little
14. Move On