Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Deep Cuts

music featureAmidst adversity Tristan Prettyman reconnects with music and soars

After nearly eight years of recording and touring, singer/songwriter Tristan Prettyman found herself in a terrible position: She no longer had any interest in music. “I got really burnt out and I just took a break from music all together,” she says. “It was supposed to be just like a year or six months that ended up turning into almost four years.”

Luckily for fans, all of Prettyman’s disinterest in music evaporated the morning she went into surgery to remove the polyps from her vocal cords that threatened her career.

“The minute that my voice was gonna be gone I suddenly had these things to say,” recalls Prettyman. “I was like, ‘Holy shit! What if I’m never allowed to say anything again?’ What would I want to say right now?”

As it turns out, she has a lot to say.

Her latest album, Cedar and Gold, is a powerful and honest window into the turmoil of a life in staggering flux. After discovering the polyps, while teetering on the edge of quitting music altogether, Prettyman became engaged to pop star Jason Mraz, who abruptly ended their relationship a few months later.

“What sucked about it the most,” says Prettyman, “is feeling like you don’t have a voice and people don’t really know the full truth and you want to tell them. My fiancé was way more well-known than I was and people immediately [took] his side because no one knows who I am. … That also probably kind of fueled the fire to be really really extremely honest.”

While the album has traces of Prettyman’s original style—easy-going grooves powered by strummed and plucked guitar—there is a new command in her vocals and some intriguing explorations into new sounds. The album has hints of country with subtle pedal steel and a sprinkling of banjo, but it also has an infectious pop feel, some rock edge, and the unique energy to catapult the listener into multiple directions. “It feels really timeless to me; it feels genre-less,” says Prettyman. “It’s got all different sides of my personality on it and, you know, it feels honest and pure and real.”

Songs like “I Was Gonna Marry You” deliver stunning lyrical blows—“We were fine/Then all at once you changed your mind/I was gonna marry you”—but as a whole, the album is less vindictive than it is retrospective.

Prettyman seems to have grown from the painful experience, and while she may have suffered, she says she’s learned a great deal. “I needed these things to happen to kind of break me down, even though they were painful,” she admits. “Even though they were sad, they showed me not to be afraid of being vulnerable and not to be afraid to love again, or to go for it, to feel and make mistakes and fuck up and know that you’ll make a comeback, you’ll make it through and be stronger because of it.”

Cedar and Gold isn’t all heartbreak though. While she is able to express the pain of a serious breakup, Prettyman is equally adept at capturing the freedom that comes with the end of any relationship. She captures that feeling on the playful song “The Rebound”: a not-so-subtle story about flirting—and where it may lead—set at the banana stand of a Trader Joe’s.

“I feel like at the end of the day, everyone has a story, and everyone just wants to hear it,” says Prettyman. “We think things in our head that we don’t ever tell anybody because we think like, ‘Uh, is that too much? Is that too personal?’ And we’re so aware and protective of our feelings that most comments I’ve found about this record are like, ‘Thank you for making me feel like I’m not crazy [for] thinking some of the things I’ve thought or the emotions that I’ve had.’” 

Tristan Prettyman performs at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. Call 423-1338.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location