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- Bluebird by Dawn Landes
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 18 February 2014
Just yesterday as we listened to Angel Olsen’s album plodding along, Phil announced that he’d never be old enough to enjoy music like it. I can see where he is coming from, the youth that is still clinging on to my soul can struggle to relate to albums which are full of pleasant confessional singer songwritery stuff.
I had an epihany last week when I found myself almost against my will enjoying the lovely new Marissa Nadler album and so something similar has occured with this latest offering from Dawn Landes. On first play through its nicely picked acoustic guitar compositions married to a pleasant vocal style drift by unapologetically. So far, so nice. But dig a little deeper and these songs are pretty gorgeous, there always seems to be a beautiful honey harmonied chorus eminating from somewhere.
‘Try To Make A Fire Burn Again’ is an early highlight, over a beautifully warm descending strummed acoustics the vocal climaxes culminating in the line ‘don’t you want to see me, mistreat me’ injecting a darker edge into a song which sounds like the first flush of spring. ‘Bloodhound’ has a jittery bluegrass like feel with some effective steel strung guitar clattering away amongst the tangle of acoustics. Despite some of the darker subject matter (Landes recently divorced from fellow countrified troubador Josh Ritter) the music is generally fairly chipper and upbeat. ‘Heel Toe’ uses electric guitar and a metronomic drum pattern and much more recalls the Olsen album and has hints of Cowboy Junkies in its dark 50’s Americana.
‘Diamond River’ is piano led with some nice unexpected production touches, sweet but never too cloying. But generally you can file this alongside the likes of Gillian Welch and Neko Case in that hazy zone of lovely warm country folk.
9/10 Markybod Customer review, 6th April 2015
I was fortunate enough to see Dawns live show as support to the equally brilliant Gregory Alan Isakov. I was immediately struck by her light voice and strong songwriting making buying this LP a no brainer.
This is an album that upon each listen you are rewarded with something new, something you missed the last time around. The absolute highlight is Diamond Rivers. Dawn channels Carole King and Karen Carpenter in equal measure and creates a song so powerful, so moving I defy you not to shed a tear when she sings the final line.
Heel toe is a fine example of what Dawn is capable of. A lovely lyric framed in a loose waltz timed melody.
This Bluebird soars and swoops in equal measure. Hit buy, thank me later.
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