Basia Bulat Seamlessly Blends Folk, Pop, Soul, and Country | Bleader

Basia Bulat Seamlessly Blends Folk, Pop, Soul, and Country


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Basia Bulat
  • Basia Bulat
Tomorrow night Canadian singer Basia Bulat returns to Schubas, playing music from the terrific new Heart of My Own (Rough Trade). A couple years ago, when I first heard her fine debut album, Oh, My Darling, I was immediately hooked by her strong, distinctive voice, which shaped the pretty, delicate melodies with unassuming confidence. The arrangements were simple but effective: mostly acoustic guitar, piano, cello, violin, and sparse percussion.

The new album, produced by Montreal scene fixture Howard Bilerman, is even better. Bulat's voice sounds more assured and muscular, her melodies are better developed, and the arrangements—particularly the use of backing vocals—let her add an unexpected touch of old-school soul to her seamless blend of styles without sounding for a second like a mere imitator ("If It Rains" reminds me of Sam Cooke, but only ever so slightly). Another element of her sound is country music, albeit from no specific region; Bulat strums an Autoharp on many of her songs. Despite these nods to familiar genres, though, she has such a powerfully individual voice, combining an urgent, elegant quaver and precise pitch control, that just about everything she sings becomes her own.

Below you can check out her song "Gold Rush," one of the highlights from the new record:

And here's a video of Bulat performing "The Shore," another new song, taped live at a Parisian instrument shop late last month:

HibOO d'Live : Basia Bulat "The Shore" from on Vimeo.

photo: Jenna Marie Wakani

Today's playlist:

Saeid Shanbehzadeh, Iran: Music From the Persian Gulf (Buda)
Kayla Quintet, End Times (Jazzwerkstatt)
John Lewis, Grand Encounter (Pacific Jazz)
Leon Fleisher, Mozart Piano Concertos (Sony Classical)
Oren Ambarchi, Christian Fennesz, Paul Gough, Peter Rehberg, and Keith Rowe, Afternoon Tea (Black Truffle)