Paula Fuga (Brushfire/Republic)
In only her second full-length album in 15 years, and first on frequent collaborator Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records, the enchanting Hawaiian-born and Oahu-based Paula Fuga is poised to share Rain On Sunday, a collection serving as tribute to her ardent appreciation of natural beauty and her own breadth of spirit. A gifted poet turned songwriter, Fuga transformed her talent into an engine for processing childhood trauma, and now shares with the world her charm and compassion through an alluring resonation of the endless summer.
Fuga’s lyrical authenticity is inherent, so to match musically, she and her producer and long-time bandmate Mike Love chose to record live. “The main thing I needed was for everything on this album to be real – real instruments, real horns, real strings, nothing synthetic,” says Fuga. “Everything was tracked with all of us playing live in a room together, and you can really feel everyone’s soul and the synchronicity of it all.”
The resulting acoustic voyage uplifts even when confronted with the inevitability of loss as in first single and duet with songwriter Jack Johnson, “If Ever.” The track also features Ben Harper lending soulful lap-steel, and although rendered in heartbreak, the song is listens easily on repeat. Perhaps that’s because of its openness and vulnerability. “So many people walk around with their hearts closed and their souls cut off from feeling,” Fuga says. “I know that’s a defense mechanism, but I hope this album inspires people to open up. I hope they feel the love that every single musician put into these songs, and I hope it heals whatever’s inside them that needs to be healed.”
“If Ever” is taking listeners on aural vacation far from home finding spins on KBCO, WFUV, WXRV, KXT, WNCS and WPYA among many, many others and Rain On Sunday is out June 25.