"The album is a bit like me unapologetically showing up for a date with messy hair and scraped knees after jumping from a moving car."
That's how pianist, accordionist, singer and songwriter -- perhaps the newest (and definitely one of the most interesting) voice on the Milwaukee music scene -- describes her debut disc, "Because I Have No Control...," released under the name Pezzettino.
The disc's 10 songs combine to create 42 minutes of unassuming, unadorned, unpretentious musical expression as Stutt performs the songs that write over the past year. And the informal style of the recordings work perfectly. A telephone rings during one track and on others listeners can hear Stutt bonking the microphone accidentally.
But this all feels perfect.
"The recordings were not premeditated for release," says Stutt, "but when I decided to go that route, I chose not to dress it up too much because it was appropriate for the period in my life that the songs chronicle. I'm an acoustic musician, and am pretty technologically challenged, so I was interested in just capturing the sounds as they sound live, exposed, vulnerable. "
Describing the music isn't easy. Piano-based songs like the opener, "Sweet Descent," conjure Sweden's Frida Hyvonen and the accordion-focused tunes recall Yann Tiersen, but the airy, double-tracked vocals are harder to pinpoint.
Stutt's background is in classical music, she says, and that both hurt her songwriting - stymieing it altogether initially - and served it well, but freeing it of too much contemporary influence.
"This year was one big lesson in trusting my gut instinct and standing up for myself," she recalls.
"I did not write songs before this year, I had a creative block from studying classical music. I thought that since I wasn't Beethoven, I had no right to compose music. But this year I made some tough decisions, and the piano and accordion are always willing to sit down and chat, to get to the bottom of things. I was struggling to express my own voice in life, and the music has allowed me to do just that. That's part of the title ‘Because I Have No Control'; I didn't really choose to write these songs. They just sort of appear on their own."
The result was a year of songwriting fecundity and so Stutt already has enough material for a projected second disc, that she hopes to begin recording shortly.
But first, Stutt is dipping her toe into the waters of live performance. Her first show was at Chicago's Uncommon Ground in September and she has played here at the Miramar and Stonefly. This month she undertakes the "Happy Birthday to Me Tour" -- it's her birthday month -- starting Nov. 6 at UWM's 8th Note Café at 6 p.m.
A "send-off" gig is slated for Nov. 13 at 9 p.m. at Stonefly. The jaunt takes her around Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
"I love playing live," says Stutt. "There is so much energy in one room, the music is alive. I was pretty nervous for that first show, to be so vulnerable, holding my heart out for everyone to inspect. But after that, playing live is just plain liberating -- this is who I am, this is what I do, and people can either listen or leave! "
Once she returns, Stutt begins work on the new record.
"I will either be working with a professional studio or learning the ways of Pro Tools," she vows ... or threatens. "Now that I have pulled myself together, I want respect and do justice to the instruments I am playing -- I would like to fully capture their spectrum of sound. Plus, I have a drummer now and that requires more fine-tuned recording technique for it to sound right."
In the meantime, says Stutt -- who chose the name "Pezzettino" from her favorite children's book, by Leo Lionni -- the music just keeps coming.
"I don't know, it's like a flood gate! I seriously can't help it. I'll just be walking to work and I start singing a song ... and so it goes."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.