Thursday, May 21, 2009

What I'm Listening To (Volume One)

We interupt the New Wanderer series (only temporarily, I assure you) to share a little bit of the music I have been imbibing most recently. After an extended period of being in a musical rut of sorts, I began to suddenly go through a Joni Mitchell phase. Watched a Biography DVD on her, immersed myself in Blue for awhile and explored a lot of the Hejira era via Youtube vids. But that's not why I'm writing.

That meager start was escalated by a chance listen to a song called "Man Over" via our local college radio station weekend show "Folk Roots". This was my intro to Robinella and the CC String Band (now just Robinella). I was really grabbed by her voice and really enjoyed the spare old-timey string backup. Pretty soon, I was ordering the CD which I have been enjoying quite a bit these last couple weeks.

Come to find that Robinella has quite a range. She can sing that sweet down home country (NOT the drippy slick Nashville garbage). She also does some gospel and has no problem tackling jazz phrasing and style. One writer described her as a cross between Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday (okay, that doesn't sound too good at all!). But the fact is she really can bring together her influences (she admits to having more jazz albums than country ones in her collection) quite beautifully. Tell you what - if you like Norah Jones, give a listen to one of my favorite cuts from her self-named album: "No Saint, No Prize" and see what you think. I've just received a newer album of hers from Amazon and will be writing more about her and her music later.

My Robinella kick led me to two other groups I had never heard of before. They are Seattle's Fleet Foxes and Johnson City, Tennessee's TheEverybodyFields. They are not much like each other. Fleet Foxes has strong strains of Smile era Brian Wilson mixed with a touch of Baroque, folk and alternative while TheEverybodyFields are fully alt-country with a great sound and some of the authentic feel you get from The Band. I'll go into more detail on them in my next post.

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