Unpinnable Butterflies is the overarching project name for songwriter and film composer Gabriel Judet-Weinshel.
When Grammy-nominated producer and composer Scott Healy (American Steel, Ricky Martin, Phoebe Snow) first heard a collection of Gabriel’s demos and agreed to produce the songwriter’s first record for indie imprint sonaBLAST! Records, Gabriel found himself again surrounded by musical luminaries, as Healy assembled an all-star cast of some of New York City’s greatest session players and special guests.
His debut, “The Exile of Saint Christopher,” featured legendary drummer Shawn Pelton (Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash), Bakithi Kumalo of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” and folk-rock sensation Brett Dennen lending guest vocals.
The record garnered enthusiastic reviews— Ian Mathers of the Village Voice wrote, “He’s got one of those malleable voices that can sound a bit like everyone from David Byrne to Ed Harcourt, but always mostly like himself”—became a Paste Recommends select, and was added in heavy rotation to Starbucks’ coffeehouse playlist.
Gabriel’s upcoming record and second collaboration with Healy, “Radio Ocean” will be released September 24, 2021 via sonaBLAST! Records. It’s a sprawling and raucous affair, over a decade in the making. The record expands the sound of Gabriel’s sometimes intimate first record into a wider, free-wheeling and eclectic stew, channeling everything from country, to west African guitar riffs, to classic rock.
Healy and Judet-Weinshel have outdone themselves in assembling a who’s-who of A-list talent once again. The 13-tune album features a returning Shawn Pelton and Curt Bisquera (Mick Jagger, Tom Petty) on drums, the totemic Lee Sklar (James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Carole King) on bass, Jason Orme (Alanis Morissette) on guitar, a full horn session comprised of Conan O’Brien’s Basic Cable Band veterans; as well as featured guest appearances by Americana darlings Birds of Chicago (JT Nero and Allison Russell), the saxophone prodigy Grace Kelly (Jon Batiste, Lee Konitz), chanteuse Jessica Childress (Aloe Blacc, Portugal. The Man), indie maverick Kate Tucker, and chanteuse Perla Batalla (Leonard Cohen).
As perhaps a sly nod to his filmmaking twin identity, Gabriel’s colleague, the esteemed rock photographer and director Danny Clinch, plays harmonica on "Good Kings," a kitchen sink type of tune, a febrile cross-section of the 20th and 21st centuries, a POV angle hurtling through the beauty and the wreckage.
On Radio Ocean's lead single, "You," which Big Takeover Magazine christened, "deeper denser prose, as exemplified by the more discerning ends of prog and the more conscious threads of soul," Judet-Weinshel offers insight into its layered meanings: