Showing posts with label "CD Review 07". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "CD Review 07". Show all posts


Two Gallants: Review

The Dynamic duo Two Gallants kick it up full throttle with their new self-titled release Two Gallants on Saddle Creek Records. The raw, electric, folk rock recording of nine fully developed songs gives the music community what it has been missing: a soul. Adam Stephens (guitar/vocals/harmonica) and Tyson Vogel (drums/vocals) have formed a dynamic musical force that has enabled them to create art in music. With the guided astute production by Alex Newport, the sound is perfectly produced and not overproduced.

The recording, attitude, straightforwardness, raw quality, emotional levels, and full-bodied sound do not get better than this. I marvel at their musicianship because it has an immediate presence. I described their recently released EP, The Scenery of Farewell, as acoustic bliss. “Trembling of the Rose” is the only acoustic offering on this release, the other eight tracks are electric. The emotional and raw traits of this recording are even more striking because the music’s intensity and pace meet up with the highs and lows of the storytelling.

The flat-picking electric guitar leads echo in the desolate open air, allowing every note to resonate. Stephen’s harmonica bleeds with affectation while Vogel pounds the drums and clashes the cymbals with impending abandon.

Stephen is a raw folk storyteller who pens a hard-to-the-core palette, evoking ties that bind. The lyrical entries are of loss and abandonment, hate, lust, and heart-wrenching tales that are at times scornful with a vengeance.

Each track starts out differently, adding to the variety of the mix. "Reflections of a Marionette” shows off that diversity. Featuring a slew of styles so imaginatively synchronized to form an integral whole. Vehemently stating / I hope your gone by the time this song is through /. Then the scornful flurry in the chorus / I don’t want to see you fall/ I want you see you fail / catapults the song into a vindictive territory.

“The Hand That Held Me Down” describes the ultimate human betrayal with words that hurt like, / the heights to which you drag me / just to hurl your scorn /. The accusation of the chorus / did you hold the hand that held me down /, captures the essence of disloyalty while the harmonica simulates the vulnerable feelings expressed.

Rarely does Stephen’s use words that give an indication of time and place. In the last track, "My Baby's Gone,” he uses a contemporary reference quite effectively; he quietly moans, / I’ve lost my floaty, then he cries with a whisper / my baby’s gone /. The pace quickens epically, and the quietly whispered phrase becomes the roar of a relenting chorus.

“Fly Low Carrion Crow” is the most interesting from a vocal standpoint. Stephen’s trades in his strained throaty vocals for a more restrained lower register. In the song “Miss Merri” the cowboy bass line is an inferential musical clue reflecting the loss of America's soul in the sprawling fields of suburbia. / Oh miss merri don’t despair me / we got ways to numb your pain / same old story / blood, sweat, glory / just hope all your trials were in vain.

These collections of songs indulge my emotions. I revel in the lyrics and music to feel alive with pain. You don’t have to be there to go there. I would love the Two Gallants to write more about the state of the world, topics of great importance, and political and social unrest. They have the power in their writing and music to stir the nation, for now, they stir the soul.

Two Gallants 4Play Filmed by Saddle Creek Records:

Daytrotter Sessions: Two Gallants Encore
The Hand That Held Me Down MP3


The National / Boxer Review - Steady Beat / Soars and Expands in Moody Seductive Mix

Sometimes there is only so much music that one person can absorb. A close friend insisted that I hear the National. He was all ready to take me to the Bowery Ballroom show but I had other obligations. He did bring me a signed CD of “Boxer” their latest release. So I made time to listen. It turned out to be a worthwhile time investment.

Boxer is the second release from The National on the Beggars Banquet label; it is the follow-up to their 2005 critically acclaimed Alligators. The band members are Aaron Dessner bass / guitar, Bryce Dessner / guitar, Scott Devendorf / guitar, Bryan Devendorf / drums and Matt Berninger / vocals and songsmith. T
he Australian composer Padma Newsome ( Clogs ) did the orchestration and horn arrangements and Sufjan Stevens was the guest pianist.

The National’s Boxer is grown up music and I don’t mean easy listening.
The sound of Boxer is moody, poetic and smart. It is orchestral pop at its best and is for ears that listen. Lyrically the song structure present scribbling of observations mixed with word associations that form pictures and clues about thematic concepts.
The first track "Fake Empires" starts with piano, vocals and bass. About midway the drum rolls in and the texture of the horn section arrives in the backdrop. Suddenly the sonic sounds swell and soar as Matt sings / as we fade away in our fake empire /, ending on a single abrupt note.

Matt Berringer’s seductive bedroom voice has presence and surprising tonal diversity. The haunting nature of the vocals and drums are in the forefront of most tracts, and tucked in the background is the layering of instruments that rise gloriously persuasively calling. Enveloping the lyrical entries are the lush qualities of the guitar scaffolding, cascading piano segments, subtle brass arrangements and discriminating cello that breath through the steady pulse of drum beats. The drums are beating time rather then keeping time, reflecting moments that are captured in thought. They march forward with a steady tin beat, and pulsate like a life source. Steadily pumping on through life’s intricate moments and messy quandaries.

The lyrics pose a thematic approach on two fronts. The songs "Fake Empires", "Racing Like a Pro", "Mistaken for Strangers" and "Squalor Victoria" present the premise that youthful ideals are often compromised by work and money. The professionals in white shirts, the showered blue blazers that fill with quarters or the mourning of the glowing young ruffian appear in dumbstruck predicaments. Captured in lyrics like / another un-innocent / elegant fall into the un-magnificent lives of adults /.
Often the mediocrity of adult life is unfortunate.

The other songs like "Brainy", "Slow Show", "Apartment Story", "Ada" and "Start a War" deal with contemporary adult sexuality and the complexities of relationships. Among the familiar household references like
bedrooms, television, magazines and stereos the story-lines unfold. In "Slow Show" a man's vulnerability is exposed as he anticipates coming home to put on a playful show and admitting / I know I’ve dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you /. Relationships get complicated in "Start a War" because they / expected something / something better than before /. Weary lovers need to step away.. / walk away now / your gonna start a war /. In a world corrupted by pop culture "Apartment Story" describes a couple caught up in a “rosy minded fuzz”, willing to indulge their superficial attractions, that are fleeting and will / stay inside till somebody finds us / do whatever the TV tells us / we’ll be alright / we have our looks and perfume on /. Deception can only be covered up temporarily.

Boxer is appropriately titled and it authentically represents the struggle to adapt to adulthood while trying to understand and come to terms with it’s many pitfalls. The cohesive and layered music is intricately built to stand up. Strongly the pulsating rhythm meticulously beats while orchestration soars and expands in a moody seductive mix. I'm hooked.
The National Myspace
The National Daytrotter Sessions

National on Letterman


Two Gallants The Scerery of Farewell / Review

The Two Gallants new EP release entitled “The Scenery Of Farewell” is an outstanding acoustic offering. The five tracks exemplify folk music with a hard edge and a soulful timbre. They’ve successfully woven lyrical ballads with a sound that has weight and resonance.

Adam Stephens raspy worn vocals and astute harmonica playing, cries and bends to reach emotional heights. He boldly finger picks the guitar, while Tyson Vogel lends percussion elements and sings in a softer and higher vocal range. Adding to the mix are the violin, cello, stand up bass and piano passages that fill the memorable melodies.

I love the strong acoustic quality of these recordings. The songs were produced and recorded on tape by Alex Newport. This required several live takes to arrive at the right feel, rather than piecing together and editing parts. The end result is a very organic minimal sound.

The writing style is indicative of oral histories written in the first person. The song structure opens up avenues for the listener, using poetic lyrical phrasing and a variety of reference points.

The first track “Seems Like Home To Me” is a tour de force, capitalizing on the vocals of the two members. The song starts off with the Two Gallants singing in unison. Then in just one passage Stephens’ sings alone deriving an affecting rendering of the lyrics. This song about longing to be set free, proclaims / baby let your light shine on me / when I’m lost on the road / you know you can set me free / you can ease my love /. As the song builds the forceful steady beat of the bass drum is added leading to the songs crescendo, a rich and glorious chorus declaring / I’ve been gone so long / it seems like home to me /.

“Lady” starts out slowly with guitar strumming, as an aging man struggles over being / too busy running out of time /. He thinks about his regrets and worries over his personal troubles while comparing them to others. Thus the weaving of contrasts… / something reeks of heaven beneath the highway where the hobos sleep / where the hobos sleep / and I laugh about the pains I keep /.

The emotional description of despair
in “Up the Country” works because the heartbreaking words are perceived through the instruments. Blending the harmonica, violin and cello to hauntingly pause, as if to sob. He proclaims / now there are criminals in my head that lead me to disgrace / so lost I best not be found /. The sadness seeps in and he laments / my tongue no longer tastes / and states / not sure how long I’ll stick around /.

The soulful harmonica plays in “All Your Faithless Loyalties” as the song starts with the opening phrase / let this be are last goodbye /. Describing the tentative nature of breaking up, / I’ve known lonesome things you can’t come back from /. Realizing that the inevitable result will be… / I know we’ll be strangers in the end /. The choral segments sung beautifully by Vogel, reflects the weariness of in-decision as time goes by singing / oh oh oh oh oooh.

Ending the collection with “Linger On” The piano, violin and harmonica intertwine and swell to present the essence of lingering thoughts about the end of a long and complicated relationship. Stephens' sings / I know I never meant you any harm / the suffocating shelter of your arms / if I did you wrong / It wasn’t me, but you who wrote this song / linger on / linger on /… PLEASE….

This evolved collection of songs is a welcome addition to the growing discography of this young band. It does linger. Their follow up will be a full-length release due out in September of this year. It is an electric session recorded again with the help of Alex Newport. I look forward to their next offering.

Recorded on tape by Alex Newport at Hyde Street Studios in San Francisco.

Featured: Jackie Perez Gratz on cello, Anton Patzner on the violin and Chico Tunney on the upright bass.
Artwork was laid out by: Mr. Maust of the cold war kids. The Front photo by: Wignall and back photo by Mr. Jakie Peanuts Snavely.

Track listing:
1. Seems like home to me 2. Lady 3. Up the country 4. All your faithless loyalties 5. Linger on

Label: Saddle Creek Records purchase CD

Two Gallants myspace

"Seems Like Home To Me" mp3


Ramona Cordova "The Boy Who Floated Freely" review

Ramóna Córdova
"The Boy Who Floated Freely"

After following Ramón Córdova’s music virtual style for most of this year, I was thrilled to purchase the CD "The Boy Who Floated Freely". I had a few brief conversations via myspace, watched his touring on youtube and enjoyed his escapades with The Big Purple Van Club. Ramón has been playing in Europe for most of the year, had a brief US winter tour and is currently in Asia. He gets around.

This CD took my breath away. I was deeply moved. Each glorious low fi track is rich with sincerity and tenderness. Ramón's soft tenor reaches high androgynous octaves. Playing skillfully a nylon string guitar in most of the recordings, he weaves clapping, walking feet, tambourine, organ, cello, accordion and birds chirping. All of these elements create a charming, quirky and imaginative component.

The CD presents a lyrical narrative that portrays life’s hardships, disappointments and joy. Revealing a philosophical openness to life that welcomes happiness despite recollecting the residual affect of pain.

Every song has a lead-in that invites the listener to linger. The melodious journey unfolds beginning with a chirping bird on the first introductory track. The Song “The Givers Reply” proceeds with an organ and two verses. Suddenly the unexpected sound of an antique twister noisemaker leads the rinky-dink orchestra of pots and pans to create a joyous ruckus. / I will shout out to the sky / and I'll sing along my little songs / to help me move the day along /

“Heavy On My Head” is a confessional song with poignant words / what I couldn’t ask with my mouth / and sadly / I was raised with hands / I pushed through some pad lock doors / the lyrics and delivery are penetrating.

The saddest most revealing song is “Brother” where he forgives his brother who shares the painful memory of their father’s neglect and abandonment. His brother chooses a different path that creates distance between them / you decided to fight like our father/ you decided to leave like our father. But he tells his brother of his regrets that / Underneath the lies I breathe / I know I mean the most lovely thing /.

Ramon expresses the beauty of the sunlight on the trees, a simple walk with a friend, paper airplanes and love. He gently paints a magical picture of a music landscape of unexpected animated sounds that capture the imagination and move the heart.

ECA (US) Clapping Music (FR) Sleeping Star (IT)
Buy: The Boy Who Floated Freely
"The Givers Reply" Video premiered on MTV Europe
Spectacular Cover Art: John Heron


Bright Eyes "Cassadaga" Review:

Bright Eyes: “Cassadaga” Review Conor Oberst The Crooner Can Turn a Phrase 

Conor Oberst’s voice, timing and phrasing is at their best in “Cassadaga,” Bright Eyes seventh Full-Length release. I have always felt that Conor Oberst’s phrasing style and lyric delivery could be compared to Frank Sinatra, but in “Cassadaga,” the connection is more evident. He artfully structures words in a frame without sacrificing the timing, while the acute measurement of empty space guides the listener to linger. The emotional weight of his poetic verse is highlighted by the subtle nuance of his singing style.  The songwriting blossoms with inference. It is uncanny how Oberst can attach imagery to thought, creating a pathway between the visual and cerebral cortex. Like: Standing on a doorstep full of nervous butterflies / or / vanish in a thick mist of change /. Utilizing this format, he accentuates the unpredictable nature of his song craft. 

Adding to Conor Oberst’s inspired vocal delivery is the inventive music mixing by Mike Mogis and orchestra arrangements by Nate Walcott. Together they rework the Bright Eyes discography into a polished combination of alt-country styling, digital effects, orchestral lushness, and gorgeous choral flourishes. With outstanding guest appearances throughout, including Dave Rawlings’ signature guitar, the vocals of Rachel Yamagatta, Gillian Welch, Sheri, and Stacy DuPree, Jason Boesel, and M Ward's contributions on “Soul Singer.” 

The Bright Eyes tradition of starting the first track with unusual sound effects like cassette recordings, children reading, keys turning on the car engine, or storytelling is continued in Cassadaga. “Clairaudients (Kill or Be Killed)” opens with a psychic reading, while supernatural orchestration leads into the atmospheric song. It explores the subject of destiny. A destiny is determined by individual choices or, in contrast, beyond the range of control, like in manmade and natural occurrences. This song sets the tonal direction for the entire collection of songs. “Four winds” is a rollicking fiddle-driven fare disseminating a tirade of social, religious, and political epithets and emphasizing the hypocrisies of destiny offerings. Your class, caste, country, sect, name, or tribe / There are people always dying trying to keep them alive /. Here he extols the state of civilization as it repeats history. “The Brakeman Turns My Way” emphasizes self-determination and the desire to search for answers. / It’s an infinite coincidence, but it doesn’t make a plan /. Some people are lucky to have the opportunity to change their fate and level out. The paradox is presented cleverly in the line / People snuffed out in the brutal rain /. The dichotomy is forcefully clear as the pulsating strumming and forceful rock/country styling take hold. The fateful direction unfolds with “Classic Cars” as memory awakens to recall a passing love affair / like two quaint ships in the night / She leaves him with these thoughtful words / everything is a cycle / you’ve got to let it come to you / And when it does you’ll know what to do /. The wise offering guides him and ultimately influences his life. In “Make a Plan To Love Me,” Conor’s crooning shines as sentimental strings pipe in on queue, and the lavish vocals of Rachel Yamagata are added to dress this romantic escapade. As they sing during the chorus / make a plan to love me / make a plan to love me sometime soon /. The saddest and most heart-wrenching song, “No One Would Riot For Less,” is circa Bright Eyes at its best. As he sings / So love me now / Hell is coming / Kiss my mouth Hell is here /. And / Little soldier / little insect / you know war it has no heart / it will kill you in the sunshine or happily in the dark /. This is where the forbidding future, impending doom, and love collide. The last song, “Lime Tree,” starts with simple guitar plucks and Conor’s voice.

At the end of the second verse, string arrangements exemplify the heartfelt words. Rachel Yamagata and Stacey Dupree's choral affectations are sublime, cascading the song to breathtaking levels. The song ends dramatically as he takes a major step into the world. Stepping gingerly into his destiny. / I took my shoes and walked into the woods / I felt lost and found with every step I took. Turning a phrase and dreaming big dreams, Bright Eyes has established their destiny with every track on this stunning recording. Label: Saddle Creek Records Artwork and design by Zack Nipper Utilizing the invention of a focal decoder, viewers can scan the art and see encrypted images and messages. Focal Decoder by patent no.2315240 "Four Winds" Review / Artifact


WILLY MASON: If The Ocean Gets Rough [A Voice With Dignity]

2007 Full-length “If The Ocean Gets Rough” review; a fan's perspective

Willy Mason sings strongly with clarity and purpose in his second release, “If the Ocean Gets Rough.” Following the well-received 2005 debut “Where the Humans Eat, “Willy has honed his writing skill and stepped up his melodic verse.

The music is two steps up from Low fi. Each instrument, including the guitar, is finely mixed as a backdrop to the vocals. Sloppy determined drumming marches on for the tired soldier and beats unsteadily for the uncertain future. The viola is subtly woven into the blend, while female harmonies are lovely but not clichéd. What is a standout are the stellar time changes and the delightful bonus of finding a song within a song.

Willy’s voice is clearly up front and strong, it is a voice with dignity, adding weight to his well-crafted songs. Slow and steady, his words provoke an intentioned platform. He doesn’t yell, the clarity of the message is heard as he quietly screams his potent lyrics.

He carefully weaves personal introspective conflict while emphasizing broader social, political, and world issues. Longing to be loved, he branches out into the world, leaving and remembering the familiar, the nest, the broken home. In “Save Myself,” he reaches out for help to save him from the / vultures that copyright the word free / and other evils awaiting. He longs for unconditional love from family, he asks his mother in the song “When the River Moves On” / Will you hold on to what is gone / Will you hold the rock / when the river moves on/ as he claims / I’ve got to leave home to be free /.  

Simple things aren’t as simple anymore / death is easy to ignore when its numbers are on a screen /. Stated so flawlessly in “Simple Town.” The Simple town is sonically lonely, with an echo-like quality. The rain comes down under the simple sky, and life goes on, but secrets, history, and the past linger. In the song “The End of the Race,” he desperately sings / I see the ocean rolling past / I see the grass / I see the grass / I see it swallow up the past /. The past leaves scars and imprints that even the ocean can’t wash away. It churns it up to face reality.

The nation that is broken, the broken home, the broken self. He asks can they be fixed? Maybe, if we can / set our demons free / and /cut our secrets free /. Maybe we pay less attention to things we don't need and more to non-material things we long for, like the love of a father. As the son cries after his father's death / daddy what was it you really wanted / in the song “Tomorrow”.

He is learning to walk and negotiate the world. Sometimes he stumbles as unexpected conflicts or decisions appear like hot coals underfoot, making walking difficult. Willy knows the world is a tough place filled with secrets and regrets. And he asks…..If the ocean gets rough / would you help me sing / would it help to sing……….. It always helps me to hear him sing, especially when the riptide’s got me down.
"If the Ocean Gets Rough" 2007 Astralwerks


Bright Eyes "Four Winds" My Expectation Fulfilled

Bright Eyes
"Four Winds" single Saddle Creek Records

I heard Conor Oberst's voice 6 years ago, I was forty eight. A burned mix of Bright Eyes songs, ended up in my car CD player. It included the groups first recordings and tracks from"Fevers and Mirrors". The voice, the lyrics and the music had an overwhelming effect on me.
I just lost it. It was very emotional reaction. The music had awakened something in me. My passion for music was dormant until that moment. It changed my life and I am grateful.

Every year since that time, I have looked forward to Bright Eyes' new releases, with excitement and anticipation. This year is no exception. Buying the CD is part of the experience, opening it and looking at the artwork and lyric pages. I make sure I put time aside to listen and read. I will listen over and over. I never get tired of it. Oberst's words are always layered with multiple inference. This is never an easy listening experience. I like to work for art!

I am excited by the sound and direction of these recordings. The music is similar to the 2005 release "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning"
continuing with it’s alt country and rollicking folk flair. There is a difference, the production and orchestration are as layered as the lyrical content, mixing experimental effects that add an unexpected texture to the genre.The recordings have exceptional instrumentals including spectacular guitar riffs, awesome vocal harmonies and digital niceties like the repetition of the walking boots in the song "Tourist Trap". There are outstanding guest appearances from Dave Rawlings, Ben kweller and M. Ward, to name a few.

The alt country, violin driven "Four Winds" is the first track. The determined vocals emphasize the volatile lyrics .... / The Bible is blind /the Torah is deaf /the Quar'an is mute / if you buried them all together / you'd get close to the truth /. Religion turns away from the poor, displaced and forgotten. As another abandoned soul is remembered on a graffiti laden wall in a /chemical swirl/.

"Cartoon Blues" describes the abyss of depression as / a tumor we could not remove / an old friend / a constant / the blues / The music intensifies swept up in depression as the piano hammers out the demons. The strange sound effects express the lonely world of the blues. Then it breaks / I sweep up my broken spell /

I marvel at the lyrics. Like in "Tourist Trap", how the concrete city is depicted..../ The traffic is like a pack of dogs /. The title "Stray Dog Freedom" is thought provoking. I like the way the juxtaposition of words and meaning are intertwined. Opening the song with.... /There is a skinny dog/in a dirty parking lot /, these personifications bring to mind a broader context.

From the slow moving eerie gem "Smoke Without Fire" with M. Ward, to the beautiful orchestration and chorus, draping "Reinvent The Wheel", this six song collection are the appetizers, before the arrival of the full length main course, "Cassadaga". "Four Winds" are a welcome addition to my cherished and growing Bright Eyes collection.


Joannna Newsom, Thank You, Will Oldham

Thank you, Will Oldham, for mentoring art "Ys" 2006 Full-Length Sophomore Release
When I first heard JOANNA NEWSOM, I really couldn't verbalize what it was about her voice and sound that pulled me in. It was very foreign to me, but I liked it. Will Herme an astute music reviewer on NPR expressed it so well. He made me think about it in a new way. He said; ”first things first, Joanna Newsom has a very strange singing voice, but this is understandable. When your instrument is a harp you need to create some contrast so that your music doesn’t sound like a made-for-TV movie about guardian angels.

In 2004 Joanna Newsom, just 22, released her freshman CD “The Milk-Eyed Mender” on the independent label Drag City with the help and encouragement of Will Oldham. He heard her play and decided to take her on tour with him as an opening act. I am grateful that he offered his support to a groundbreaking new talent.

The early success and critically acclaimed effort of her first release gave her the capital to collaborate with members of the music community that she could only dream of working with. Orchestration and arrangements by Van Dyke Park, production by Steve Albini (Nirvana “In Utero” ), and mixing by Jim O’Rourke (Wilco / “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot“). The "Ys" CD is the magnificent result of that endeavor.

This CD appeals to my pleasure in taking in the gestalt of music. There are five separate movements, and each clock lasts ten minutes or longer. This dreamlike symphony of sound is not for the casual listener. Harp Interludes, sweeping orchestral sessions, and long lyrical dialogues. In track one, “Emily,” Joanna sings, “the meteorite is the source of the light, and the meteor is just what we see” as the orchestra and harp play in the background like stars twinkling in the celestial heavens. Her voice is so alive. It has an urgency and live feel, while the orchestration and production is lush and fine-tuned, again contrasts work here.

Her voice is prominent and the most notable instrument in all five pieces. Her voice shows a diverse quality and range. Sometimes squeaky and hoarse, frenzied and quiet, it can gently or violently roll to higher octaves and softly flutter like butterfly wings. The nature of her voice can create visual pictures that often coincide with the lyrics. Because she is playing a harp and singing, it sounds like she is plucking her voice. This tends to shorten vowels and consonants. Like in track two, “Monkey and Bear,” she says in a four-note pluck / Oh my darling / there’s a place for us./

Newsom writes captivating narratives referencing the natural world of physical science. Unlike nature writers who write about personal observations, Newsom uses her natural references to create allegoric passages. Every lyrical sequence awakens the imagination of the listener to pay attention. She combines words in a delightful and unexpected way, such as: like the water was kneading so neatly / or / the sky is gaping and yawning / and / here is my hand, where is your paw. This creative approach allows her to create broad and sweeping metaphors about love, pain, and passion.

I love every track, but the stand out for me is “Only Skin”. This is the longest movement and the most diverse. The music builds to an exhilarating frenzied pace and culminates with additional voice tracks of Bill Callahan’s (Smog) deep talking, woven into Joanna’s three-part harmonies. Again the contrast of the voices is so effective, unusual, and satisfying.

Yes, I have listened obsessively. Hearing “Ys,” I felt like the wind blew and brought a whirlwind of sound to my ears that I had never heard before. I am thankful for her music and ability to take chances so art can flourish and evolve. Thank you, Joanna, and thank you, Will Oldham.

"Ys" Joanna Newsom 2006 Full Length
29-page liner notes / beautiful painting by Benjamin A. Vierling


Wheatie Mattiasich, Folklore Goddess

Wheatie Mattiasich 
2006 Full-Length CD "Slothful Croonings."

In an old bluesy style akin to Americana, Wheatie references dirty water, old clothes, worn-out threads, hunger, begging, and poverty. The underbelly of the seventeen low-fi tracks portrays the disparity between the rich and poor.

Wheatie writes and sings insightful folk fables. Her verse is reminiscent of Mother Goose
because the sad and tortured content of the stories is revealed within the rhymes. Phrasing like in the song "Kuna Kuna" Look sad in upper town / you know all the good spots darling / you know who’s got the heavy pockets / the only place in town you know where guilt is felt real hard. Or when she writes about simple things like..... shall we go to lunch? / Shall we eat our beans...... or Shall we climb up the trees / even if we skin our knees… Poverty limits choices but not imagination and the simplicity of play.

She sings softly, slowly. The sound of her voice is rich and full. Wheatie sings out her lines and lures the listener with her alluring voice and simple guitar picking. She adds welcoming da,da,da and backup vocals to many tracks.

Her fables provoke thoughtful social commentary and present moral dilemmas because she chooses words carefully. The ones with the pale threads will tell tell tell you where they've been / and / don't step foot in the dirty water, don't fall in the dirty water who knows what they all have seen /.... What should I do if the roof cave through / swim like a trout and take off your shoes /........ We often don't see poverty, we turn away, change the channel, ignore and walk by.

I love the song "Down In My Shoes," in which she describes all aspects of dirt and mud / That old dirt is good for washing fears /. "Break the Window" is a haunting five-minute track with provocative repetitive words that is very engaging.

Watching her live she is quiet, slow, and captivating. Her persona is in sharp contrast to our collective hyper-attention span. Quiet and thoughtful, and it is refreshingly different!

“Slothful Croonings” 2006 Full Length:
Included: Beautiful cover art by Artist Molly O’connell and a full sheet of liner notes