EP album The Best by Zelma Stone

Zelma Stone, the moniker of Bay Area native Chloe Zelma Studebaker released a new EP, her third one, today and it’s titled The Best. She’s been haled as a singer who paints emotional tapestries with her instrumentation and lyrics. I hear that and I’m like, I don’t know friends, hasn’t that been said before about every other indie artist?

Zelma Stone

This EP is meant to be a homage to what’s ahead. We are all wondering thing same thing, thinking about the same thing, where do we go from here?

“In the past, I often felt caught up in the sensation of constantly looking back, wondering where the time went and what could have been,” says Studebaker. “I spent a lot of this year learning to trust myself and embrace new chapters. The theme of moving forward and accepting change is very present throughout this record, and it was exciting exploring these ideas with a fuller sound and more dramatic dynamics.”

EP album cover for The Best
by Zelma Stone
EP album cover for ‘The Best’ by Zelma Stone
The Best by Zelma Stone

After a series of losses over the past decade, the songs on The Best are about grief but also discovery, the shedding of old identities and relationships to make space for an evolving self. Citing classic country stars like Patsy Cline and contemporary outfits like Amen Dunes among her inspiration, Studebaker’s influences play well together on tracks like opener “Gift Horse,” which sees her snarling “I’ll be on my high horse when the words come to me,” as sinuous, reverberating guitar snakes underneath.

I do not hear anything Patsy Cline in this music. Patsy Cline is a country legend who died well before her time in a tragic plane crash. You might know her song “I Fall to Pieces” if you’re familiar with country music from the 60s. When I listen to Zelma Stone there is nothing that makes me think of Patsy Cline. Stone also cites Amen Dunes as an inspiration, and that seems to be more prevalent in what I’m hearing in this EP. Amen Dunes is a “musical project” formed by American singer-songwriter and musician Damon McMahon.

The Best has six tracks on it, and the self-titled one which completes the album is the strongest song on the EP.

“I have things to say, I have many feelings.”

Don’t we all? The Best acknowledges that a heart is always holding more than one thing, and that what it contains can’t always be labeled.

Released August 20, 2021

All Songs Written by Chloe Zelma Studebaker
Produced & Mixed by Maryam Qudus
Recorded at Panoramic House (Stinson Beach, CA)
Mastered by Ed Brooks at Resonant Mastering (Seattle, WA)

Vocals & Guitar: Chloe Zelma Studebaker
Guitar: Tyler English
Bass: Jodi DurstDrums: Craig Jacobs
Synths: Maryam Qudus (tracks 1-6); Rob Shelton (tracks 1-5)

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