Love and loss and an unfaltering creative spirit appear to inform Elisa Randazzo’s new album, Bruises and Butterflies (Drag City). Her marriage to ex- Josh Schwartz, once of Beachwood Sparks and her partner in Fairechild, may be over, but Randazzo has found plenty of other talents to commune with.
The fashion designer and onetime violinist and vocalist for Red Krayola befriended British folk cult icon Bridget St. John three years ago, and their friendship has led to such haunting songwriting collaborations as the fluttering, autumnal “He Faded.” Randazzo — the daughter of ‘60s songwriters Teddy Randazzo (“It’s Gonna Take a Miracle,” “Hurt So Bad”) and Victoria Pike — found her ideal accompanists among like-minded Bay Area musicians such as Wymond Miles, John Hofer, Shayde Sartin, and Joe Goldmark.
Swept away with pedal steel, dobro, and cello and urged along by Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, and a legion of acoustic guitars, Randazzo sounds as if she’s shooting for the kind of pop transcendence that her father could understand on such songs as “Colors,” as she intones, “I could ask every friend in sight / Jump a plane, so I could travel light / But who would know the color of my love? / Remind me of the things I’m givin’ up.” But from the lightly levitating sound of Bruises and Butterflies and its cover image of a serene idol licked by flames, I have the feeling she’s aiming even higher.