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Most of the group's material is instrumental, and though they definitely have the chops for it they avoid showing off, preferring to use their skills in service of ensemble-oriented, multipart compositions (most of which are original). Violinist Annalisa Tornfelt has a gorgeous, dusky voice, though, and after hearing her sing on the band's thoroughly contemporary-sounding take on the traditional "Red Rocking Chair" (which you can check out below) and the smoldering blues "Crooked Little Heart," I'd say Black Prairie should think about letting her do it more often. Feast of the Hunters' Moon was beautifully produced by Portland genius Tucker Martine, who excels at bridging folk, rock, jazz, and various other acoustic-oriented musics. Black Prairie headlines Schubas on Thursday night.
"Red Rocking Chair":
She shapes her songs with the same sort of slow-burn intensity you get from Lucinda Williams but otherwise doesn't sound anything like her. Her voice is like a liquid—she often does without precise articulation or disregards bar lines, simply letting it flow wherever and however it needs to. Even though some of the new tunes feel a bit listless and the melodies don't always stick with me, I don't care so long as Brown's voice is washing over me. Below you can check out "Faller" from One and All. Brown opens for the Carolina Chocolate Drops on Friday night at the Park West.
Black Prairie photo: Jason Quigley
Lene Grenager, John Hegre, Harald Fetveit, and Else Olsen S, Ute (AIM Sound City)
João Bosco, O Bêbado e a Equilibrista (Sony/BMG)
Various artists, Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero Group)
Julian Argüelles Trio, Ground Rush (Clean Feed)
Oh No, Dr. No's Ethiopium (Disruption)