There’s a lot of California in Cleopatra Degher’s sound but, in fact, she spent more of her childhood in Sweden than in California. When Cleopatra returned to California at eighteen, she released a debut EP, Restrung (2012). She says that’s how she felt coming back to California “like a guitar with brand new strings.” Dan Bennett of the San Diego Union Tribune called it “a catchy acoustic collection brimming with melody and insight.”
Now Cleopatra has taken things to the next level: her first full-length album is
out. Pacific, is a lush, fully-realized collection of songs that dive deep, that seek, that calm. It’s a record where traditional American folk influences underpin both the songs and the performances. Her contemporary folk sensibilities, along with something fresh in her serene and haunting voice, ensure that the album resides securely in the present. Even if the ghosts of Laurel Canyon and the Dustbowl do make frequent appearances (not to mention those of Southern Sweden).
Pacific was produced by singer-songwriter Darius (who played on Warren Zevon’s Sentimental Hygiene album), mixed by award-winning San Diego producer-engineer Jeff Berkley and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (T-Bone Burnett, Jackson Browne) in Los Angeles. The album features an eclectic cast of L.A. musicians, including drummers Phil Leavitt (7Horse & Dada) and Kevin Jarvis (Leonard Cohen, Peter Case), keyboardist Carl Byron (Michelle Shocked), as well as other contributors with credits ranging from Warren Zevon to Donovan.
In the first weeks after Pacific’s release, Cleopatra has been featured on NPR’s
World Café Next, and the record is garnering lots of college radio airplay. She recently returned from her first West Coast tour. She has also logged quite a few shows in San Diego (opening for Aoife O’Donovan and others) and Los Angeles. She was chosen as a finalist in the 2014 San Diego County Fair singer/songwriter contest.
A video for the song “California Forest Fire” was directed by James Reid in L.A.
and can be seen on Youtube.