New Jersey Americana ensemble Christina Alessi & the Toll Collectors will release their debut recordings in October, 2020.
First single “Whatever Gets You Through” premieres on 10/9, followed by second single “Where the River Flows” on 10/23. Both of these songs will be included on the five-song EP Raindrops and Watercolors, which will be released on 11/20. All will be available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and many other digital music platforms.
Raindrops and Watercolors was recorded live in the studio at The Engine Room in Manhattan over the course of two nights. All music and lead vocals were captured in real time on one night, with the backing vocals tracked at a second session several months later. The EP was engineered, produced, and mixed by Michael Bader and Jeff Greenspan.
These songs mark the first official releases from the band, led by singer-songwriter Christina Alessi. A veteran of the New Jersey music scene, Alessi fronted the band Hey Tiger in the early 2000s, after which she performed under her own name for several years (releasing a solo EP in 2017). Alessi assembled the Toll Collectors, made up of longtime friends and musical colleagues, in late 2014.
The band has performed throughout New Jersey, including such venues as White Eagle Hall and Fox and Crow (Jersey City), Maxwell’s Tavern (Hoboken), and the Wonder Bar (Asbury Park). They’ve also taken their music across the river to Manhattan and down the Turnpike to Baltimore. The members have taken part in a variety of regular Hudson County music events such as ALEO Productions’ annual tribute to the Band’s Last Waltz (from 2014 to the present), as well as large-ensemble summer concerts in Hoboken’s Sinatra Park recreating the music of David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, and Paul Simon.
The Toll Collectors draw influence from singer-songwriters throughout the years, from vintage country and country rock (Patsy Cline, Linda Ronstadt) and 70s pioneers (Joni Mitchell, CSNY), to 90s songstresses (Joan Osborne, Aimee Mann) and contemporary Americana artists (Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell). Their sound is centered around Alessi’s powerful, soulful vocals and evocative storytelling. The rest of the quintet provides subtle yet dynamic accompaniment, including a bed of three- and four-part vocal harmonies.
The band plans to schedule several performances to promote the EP release once live music options are less limited.
Christina Alessi • lead vocals, acoustic guitar
Jonathan Andrew • bass guitar, vocals
Josh Bicknell • drums, vocals