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The uniquely gifted Van Dyke Parks is a producer, composer, arranger and solo artist best known for his work with Brian Wilson on the Smile project and for his own idiosyncratic art-pop albums, including Song Cycle and Jump! He’s also a been an inventive collaborator with such distinctive female voices as Inara George, Joanna Newsom and Gaby Moreno. Now add to that list the charismatic young Mexican singer and harpist Verónica Valerio, who joins Parks for a pungent four-track EP that feels like a dazzling otherworldly trip condensed into a vivid 13 minutes. Suggesting magical realism in musical form, the breathtaking Only in America wraps her theatrical voice in his swirling, unpredictable strings and woodwinds for stories of longing and hope, told in Spanish. Here’s hoping it’s just the start of what’s already an intriguing partnership.
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