Louisiana natives Mat Dauzat and Heather St. Marie relocated to Los Angeles after graduating college more than a decade ago. Relying at first on their southern-rock heritage, the pair founded hard rock band Hydrovibe in 2006 after Dauzat finished a run as guitarist for Kelly Osbourne (yes, THAT Kelly Osbourne… Ozzy’s daughter) and her rock band.
The pair were the songwriting powerhouse behind Hydrovibe’s success, which included their single “Killer Inside” being included in the blockbuster horror film “Saw III.” The exposure gained from that success put Hydrovibe into overdrive when it came to touring. And though their schedule was packed, the songwriting duo continued writing and even picked up some dates playing an acoustic set of new material performed by just the two of them.
All of that led to the formation of a Dauzat St Marie and the upcoming release of their first EP, “Falling Again,” due out February 17, 2015. It’s an often-acoustic, always rock-rooted collection of five songs (including two versions of the title track) that showcase a rare talent in singer/songwriters.
What stands out to me the most from the five songs on the EP are the vocal harmonies and stripped-down production. I hesitate to use the word ‘simple’ to describe the sound, because that might imply that the production is lacking in some significant way. That’s not it at all, though. What “Falling Again” lacks is the kind of over-produced, over-complicated engineering that would get in the way of the straightforward melodies and incredible vocal harmonies that Mat and Heather have clearly worked so hard to perfect.
The title track is a piano ballad featuring strong vocal harmonies and an upbeat melody that contrasts the lyrics, which tell a tale of the struggle between looking forward and actually moving forward from a tragically doomed relationship.
“Time Slips Away,” is a straight-on acoustic tune… simplicity at its finest, which allows the focus to rest squarely on the music. It’s a beautifully written song that again seems to focus on the balance between looking back and moving forward in life.
Mat and Heather have tremendous precision in their vocal harmonies, never more present on the EP than in “Watch Me Go.”
“Sinking Down” returns again to a simple acoustic guitar, though there is slightly more in the production than the previous tracks. However, all of it fits together nicely to create an almost atmospheric sound that allows the vocals to shine.
The EP finishes up with an acoustic version of “Falling Again,” which replaces the piano in the former version with an acoustic guitar. I am torn between which of these two versions I like best. The vocals seemed a bit more soulful on the first track, but here the harmonies take center stage.
Dauzat St Marie’s “Falling Again” is the kind of release that can serve as a reminder that it all starts with melody and lyrics. This singer/songwriter duo doesn’t need a six-piece band to deliver heartfelt and meaningful songs that resonate with listeners.
Dauzat St Marie will celebrate the release of “Falling Again” with a performance at Hollywood’s famous The Hotel Café on February 13, 2015 beginning at 10 p.m.