Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 6

She is. She’s a singer, songwriter, master multi-linguist, sound architect, heartbreak officianto extraordinaire, cunning jab-ist, person ultra-aware, beautiful, hurt, angered, bitter, sweet, sensible, and drawn to the mircophone and the power it yields in any fashion they sway the weapon and recording that surrounds it. There, I’ve described them all on this Album Review Saturdays, now go listen hard and listen well to three wonderful ladies that know the mission of the music multiverse and the power of sound in an album in 2023.

Bella WhiteAmong Other Things

The youth of today have a new, beautiful, twang-truth-tellin’ vocalist emerging as a folk-root country, slow rockabilly songbird, which her lyrical line emulates; “like the little bird I’m learnin’.” That she is! Among Other Things, her sophomore release, is a well crafted, well told, and masterfully produced slice of country-folk with such great attention to the raven and redbird at the mic. The surrounding musicianship is pristine and devoted to holding great nostalgia in every string, peddle and bass. This is a must listen for those that dangle in this category, and it should be the album that puts Bella White in line as a vocal expert in her heartfelt, weathered authentic pasture from Calgary to Tennessee and back.
The band:
Bella White – vocals, acoustic guitar
Jonathan Wilson – drums, percussion, B-Bender, National Resonator, electric guitar
Gabe Noel – acoustic bass, Ampeg Baby Bass, baritone guitar
Omar Velasco – nylon acoustic guitar
Buck Meek – electric and nylon guitar`
Patrick M’Gonigle – fiddle, violin, tenor guitar
Drew Erickson – piano, Hammond organ , string arrangements
Erin Rae – backing vocals on “Break My Heart,” “Dishes,” “Numbers” and “Marilyn”
Among Other Things Listing:
1 The Way I Oughta Go
2 Flowers on My Bedside
3 Dishes
4 Break My Heart
5 Marilyn
6 Numbers
7 Rhododendron
8 Worth My While
9 The Best of Me
10 Among Other Things

FeistMultitudes

You kind of wonder where else this nearly three decade indie, multi-instrumentalist sensation is headed, and then here comes her sixth album, Multitudes! We always knew she was unpredictable, vocally intoxicating, sharp in delivery and clever in album structure, but in Multitudes, Feist has truly gathered an exceptional contrast of song writing, vocal, and delivery! What am I saying? Okay – the first track is some wild Bjorkian Vespertine that kind of feels like vocalized lightning in a microphone booth with all kinds of cool trips and production punctuation that kick the album off. Then we’re struck down to powerful minimalism with such intimate, vocal detail, close + seemingly untouched. Don’t worry that Bjorkian-like detail and production never leaves, if you’re paying attention (hint). In multiple listens (which this record truly should have) the depth of her vocal is amazing. How it pulls at you, draws you in, and then releases you back into the subtle ether surrounding it. I was constantly reminded of the end songwriting of Gordon Downie, which Feist was the only person to sing in his spot for The Tragically Hip (At the Juno Awards of 2021 performed their 2002 single “It’s a Good Life If You Don’t Weaken”). And, I stand by that, and encourage that trip as well, as it’s not standard songwriting and rhyme driven constant that radio think is always king or queen. We know better – right!? This record showcases the depth of talent and heart this artist has for her craft and the power it can deliver in such simple form – yet complex in it’s multitude, purposeful delivery.  PS: She’s a hell of producer too, as you really start to hear this record and all that’s pulling and pushing on your ears!
The band:
Multitudes Track Listing:
1. “In Lightning”
2. “Forever Before”
3. “Love Who We Are Meant To”
4. “Hiding Out in the Open”
5. “The Redwing”
6. “I Took All of My Rings Off”
7. “Of Womankind”
8. “Become the Earth”
9. “Borrow Trouble”
10. “Martyr Moves”
11. “Calling All the Gods”
12. “Song for Sad Friends”

Joy OladokunProof of Life

I’ve been waiting for this record with some anticipation, as her previous album, In Defense of My Own Happiness. Proof of Life continues the joy-ous revelations, clever integration of a unique folk, R&B, hip-hop vocal conveyance that’s melded in Tracy Chapman realism and en-joy-able pop-rock production. She doesn’t hold to a genre, but she holds to her truth, and her pursuit of love and respect for all. She tells interesting short stories in phrase and prose, as well as allowing the production to give her a new soundscape to script on, including a unique collaboration with Manchester Orchestra, as well as Chris Stapleton. She has all the means and avenues to be a force for the singer-songwriter’s in the music multiverse that are trapped in having to delivery some belt-it-out, hang-the-note too long bullshit. Write interesting songs with great attachment to the people in the real world, with real concerns, real problems — and deliver it from your best voice, the real one — unvarnished by auto-tuning. The real joy comes from that! We’re listening — and we love real proof that the songwriter has life and is ultimately — “trying!”
Proof of Life Track Listing:
1. Keeping The Light On
2. Changes
3. Taking Things for Granted
4. Somebody Like Me
5. Friends (feat. Mt. Joy)
6. You At The Table (feat. Manchester Orchestra)
7. Sweet Symphony (feat. Chris Stapleton)
8. Trying
9. Pride
10. Revolution (feat. Maxo Kream)
11. The Hard Way
12. We’re All Gonna Die (feat. Noah Kahan)
13. Somehow
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