Hi folks, it’s time for me to post about a great new EP that was in my inbox today. As I’ve said before, I’m surprised how much submissions are still coming in every day, but this one really stands out. I’m talking about the debut release from Dutch folk singer-songwriter Kashmere Hakim which goes by the name The Hillsinger EP and which was released only two days ago. What makes this EP special isn’t its creativity or its experiments – it’s the other way around: the pure and straight-forward character is what makes it special. It shows that you don’t need more than an acoustic guitar and your voice if you’re able to write good and honest songs. And this is exactly what Kashmere Hakim does: writing honest music that hooks you up and takes you on a little journey through the arts of expressing human emotions and telling everyday yet meaningful stories.
The EP comes loaded with six songs and a playtime of 16 minutes which is just right for this kind of release. Outstanding are the melodies of Kashmere’s songs, they are fragile, sometimes broken, but not over the top, rather dry but still compelling. The opener Free People is a good example for this kind of song-writing and it shows that this man surely got a feeling for writing music. This belief manifests itself even more if you take a listen to John Henry, the third track on the EP. The melodies here are different and much more melodic and simpler than they were in Free People – and still it seems that this (a little bit blusy) style just fits the story of the song and tops it off. The free downloadable track Foreign Worker really sums up the overall picture I got of the EP with its soft melodies and its calm atmosphere. If you like this track I’m most certainly sure you’ll like the other ones too. Among the straight acoustic guitar and voice arrangements, there are some strings here and there, especially in the brilliant Grandparents House. This addition really benefits the songs and I’m convinced that there will be much more great music from Kashmere Hakim in the future if he’s able to keep up with this high quality work. If you want one of the 500 copies of the EP, just write an e-mail to Kashmere (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contatct him via his MySpace profile. A digital version of the EP will be available soon. Fine acoustic folk!
As a big supporter of combining folk and neo-classic or contemporary classic music, CFM is proud to feature one outstanding and remarkable band you mustn’t miss in 2010. Stylistically very different, Feast Of The Hunters’ Moon reminds me of South China’s debut full length Washingtons – structurally at least. Most part of Black Prairie’s sound is instrumental music even though the vocals from Annalisa Tornfelt were included in some tracks (and rightfully so, because they sound great and very folksy). The tracks reach from more bluegrass oriented ones (Black Alley) to tracks that are similar to classical compositions (A Prairie Musette). It’s interesting to see how this Portland/Oregon based band again shows the enormous talent that emerges from this place of the world – with ease they present such an outstanding debut that you won’t belief it – too ingenious are the melodies, too intense are the moods of the different songs. But this wonderment about the skill that is inherit to the album finds itself shattered if I tell you that the musicians which form the band are not new to music at all – in the contrary, Black Prairie features three members of The Decemberists (Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee and Nate Query) (so you know where the experience comes from…) and the above mentioned Annalisa Tornfelt as well as Jon Neufeld (both referred to as “two of the city’s finest folk stylists” by the Sugar Hill Records Press).
If you expect an album that sounds like one from The Decemberists, you are lookin in the wrong place; Feast Of The Hunters’ Moon is folk and folk only. Roots can be heard (Home Made Lemonade) along with some Balkan influences (Tango Oscuro) and even a touch of jazz found its way into those folk tunes (Crooked Little Heart). The result is deep, intense, varied and creative – simultaneously with all the deepness that can be found throughout the record, I wouldn’t say that it’s melancholic or even introverted music. This music needs room to develop, this music needs to be heard – and if you listen carefully it even invites you to a little dance (Annie McGuire). In the end I would say that Black Prairie’s first album has the perfect balance between calm and quiet and aroused and lively music – there is light and therefore there’s also shadow. I strongly recommend to check out this amazing piece of (mostly) instrumental folk music – clearly one outstanding record in 2010. To purchase your copy of it, just click this link and get your MP3s at iTunes. For further information make sure to visit the band’s MySpace site.
Some beautiful Saturday morning folk is what makes a Saturday morning (or noon or afternoon, depends on when you get up) so wonderful. Today my Saturday soundtrack to get you through the day is the amazing 2009 full length debut Kvöldvaka by Icelander acoustic folk singer-songwriter Svavar Knutur. Kvöldvaka “is Icelandic for “Evening wake”. It means a night of stories, songs, singalongs and contemplation.” As I first read this translation for Kvöldvaka I knew that this is the music I’m looking for and to which CFM is dedicated to – and of course this assumption was right and so I’m happy to present to you this wonderful folk record you mustn’t miss to check out.
Normally I don’t like music where I can’t understand the vocals because of language barriers – but in this case I’m toatlly fine with it because the songs are so fascinating and full of feelings that you don’t have to understand word for word to understand what the song is about. Even though not all tracks are written in Icelandic, 5 tracks are (out of 11) and I consider this is worth mentioning because it shapes the overall character of the music (at least if you’re not speaking Icelandic). I actually think that Dansa is my absolute highlight from the album and even though I don’t understand one single word, I’m totally fascinated by the nocturnal acoustic guitar melodies, the slightly melancholic timbre of Svavar’s voice and the wonderful backing vocals that are supported by a smooth, deep and slow bassline. And that’s just one example of the great music you can find. Another one is the opener, an interpretation of the well known traditional Clementine (maybe you remember the interpretation by Daniel, Fred & Julie from their self-titled 2009 debut – if you do, you should compare both versions and see how different and how good they both are). Very good opener that shows the talent not just to repeat a song but to mold and forge it into something own and unique.
The mood of Kvöldvaka is not always dark and somber, sometimes a hopeful shimmer blinks through and dreams of a somehow softer and calmer world – this is what adds a little indie folk feeling to the record that suits it very well (e.g. in Yfir Hóla Og Yfir Hæðir). What’s not so good, in fact terible, is the brake at the end of the album with the 11th track being some sort of a lightly sarcastic, unnecessarily comedic and in comparison disappointing bonus track called Leipzig. I totally miss the honest atmosphere, the true and authentic sound and the reference to the previous tracks. But I don’t want to overstress this point, because it’s the last track and maybe just meant as a bonus (and some sort of inside joke) and not as a worthy track of the regular full length.
Besides this blemish there is absolutely nothing that should obtain you from giving an ear to this astonishing music. The sound is real, the music comes from the heart and if you are a fan of acoustic folk, this is one album for you to celebrate the beauty of our favorite musical genre. I think Svavar Knutur impressively showed that he got enormous talent and that you should be curious about the following releases (CFM will keep you updated). To get your physical or MP3 copy of the album, head over to Svavar’sbandcamp site and buy the music there. Additional information can be found on Svavar’sMySpace.
Our good friends from Electric Western Records are going to release their third record due to April 26. CFM wrote about Electric Western’s debut (Derek Hoke’s album Goodbye Rock’n’Roll) earlier and I’m happy to hear some fresh sounds from the label. Stylistically Jacob Jones takes the same line as Derek Hoke because Bound For Glory is another very good singer-songwriter, folk and (alt) country record. But although the genre is the same, the execution is very different. Maybe you remember Derek Hoke’s album, back then I said that I really like the music and the different colored songs, but I had the feeling the album wasn’t too cohesive for it seemed that the album was more a best of singles collection (positively meant). This lack of unity is surely nothing you can criticize in Jacob’s case because the whole album feels totally flawless in structure und arrangement.
Bound For Glory shows itself from two sides. The major part of the album is characterized by country/folk singer-songwriter ballads, full of emotions and slowly played. Especially the second half of the record got some of the best tracks. The other part are songs which are more aroused, cheerful in melody and with fleet-footed vocals. The Blues Ain’t Got Nothing On You and Broadway Queen are two examples for those more spontaneous tracks. Broadway Queen maybe could be the single for the radios, but because of this it also is a track without too much deepness although the violins add some confident happiness to it and are very remarkabel and catchy. I don’t think it is the best track on the album, but it is easy to see that it fits in very well after The Blues Ain’t Got Nothing On You that is not so different in character.
There are two more of those wilder tracks, one in the middle of the album (So Long Woman) and one at the end (the piano driven Great Big World that serves as an opulent ending to the record). You see that the soft and slow tracks are mixed with those lighter ones and this mixture works very well because most of the tracks are really sentimental and sad wherefore songs like Great Big World ginger up the overall sound a little bit. But as I said above, the real strength of Jacob’s song-writing lies in the slow and mid-tempo ballads which are overwhelmingly beautiful and gripping. Outstanding example is Bonnie And Clyde, the dark and somber timbre and the beautiful female vocals that support Jacob are just incredible – my favorite track from Bound For Glory.
Summary: Bound For Glory is a very elaborate folk/country singer-songwriter album with some wilder, country pop influenced moments. Maybe Broadway Queen is a bit too much of a radio tune but in the end all the tracks work very well together. The acoustic moments with just acoustic guitar and vocals are equally great as the moments accompanied by harp, violin, piano, drums and percussions and of course slide guitar. I think this (alt) country album can be a very good friend inbetween springtime and summer – at least I think it could be, for I’m just in the mood for this type of music. Maybe you’re too, so check out Electric Western Records’ Shop and pick up a copy as soon as it hits the road (April 26). Also make sure to visit Jacob Jones’ MySpace. Watch out for the artist as well as for the label in the future – big things are coming me thinks.
There are several upcoming folk releases in 2010 a serious folker mustn’t miss: The Tallest Man On Earth – The Wild Hunt, the new Fleet Foxes record, Matt Bauer – The Jessamine County Book Of The Living, Horse Feathers – Thistled Spring, the new Damien Jurado album Saint Bartlett and of course the new Will Oldham output – just to name a few outstanding highlights. One entry form that list was released just recently and I think most of you have witnessed its arrival. The man with the thousand strange names, Will Oldham, paired up with The Cairo Gang and recorded The Wonder Show Of The World. Judging from the name he chose, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, this is the direct follow up to 2009’s Beware album. (Side note: Funtown Comedown was recorded under the moniker Bonny Billy wherefore I think it wasn’t meant as the follow up to Beware, for a different name means a different sound as Oldham said once).
The sad news first: the label didn’t provide free tracks and so I’m not able to embed any of the fascinating songs The Wonder Show Of The World has to offer. Indeed, there was a previously released track (not included on the album), a Cornay Twitty cover version of Play, Guitar, Play, but it doesn’t really represent the whole record, maybe the mood and the atmosphere are similar, but the overall sound is quite different. Anyways, it’s better than nothing. The closest track from the album to Play, Guitar, Play seems to be the beginning of Where Wind Blows, a dark, very laid back acoustic folk track that gets richer and fuller to the end. But the lo-fi character of Play, Guitar, Play is completely gone, instead Paul Oldham did a very good job mastering the final results. Very clear sound, a skillful play with the depth (voice often in the foreground, decent drums in the back, guitars and bass well placed, not overemphasized but always very clear). I like this sound and it shows the songs at their best.
In comparison to Beware, The Wonder Show Of The World is much more intimate, more reduced and overall darker. There are no “hits” like the wonderful I Am Goodbye, but this is nothing you’ll miss, for it only would have disturbed the atmosphere of the album. But as in nearly every Will Oldham album, there is some hope shining through all the tracks, no resignation – and that seems to be fitting very well for I can’t imagine a resigned Will Oldham. I don’t want to decide if this follow up is better or worse than the previous output, but one thing is for sure, it’s different. Nevertheless it’s another classic in Will Oldham’s repertory, a must buy for 2010 and surely one record that will also fascinate the audiences in the years ahead. Don’t miss the new Oldham and visit this site to find the right distributor to order your copy immediately. Long live Will Oldham!
I hope you are ready for some of the best acoustic folk I listened to in a long time. Lindsay Clark’s album Thistle The Maker, which was released back in April 2009, is the cause for rejoicing. The songstress from Portland is dedicated to the purest form of acoustic folk and doesn’t need anything else than her beautiful voice and her guitar to record an album full of emotions and slowed down tunes, sorrowful, sad, but still with a little hope left. Her voice has a very wide range and the melodies she sings make strong use of this fact – the alteration between loud and high tones and nearly whistled deep tones delivers the necessary variety to keep the album entertaining while being as reduced as it is. And it shows one more time that the often read statement that a girl/guy with just a guitar is something boring or something that lacks deepness and reflection – to the contrary – these girls and guys have a even harder job to create good music, because there is just a narrow range of stylistic posibilities. All the more amazing it is to hear such fresh and honest and just wonderful music that’s so full of heart.
Listening to Thistle The Maker I had to spontaneously think of acts like Joanne Robertson, Laura Gibson or Lotte Kestner. They all play a very chilled and laid-back folk even though their music isn’t comparebal in all aspects (naturally). But if you like one of the above mentioned artists, you surely will love Lindsay Clark. And I have a very strong feeling that she has the makings to play her way into the first division of folk. And while I’m typing this, every single note I currently hear proves that – Daybreak, the last track of the album, is playing right now and the interplay between slow and sleepy guitar melodies and more clearly audible guitar play and louder and stretched tones in her voice is just oh so wonderful.
I have a hard time to name what track on the album could be the best one, for I think all tracks are top notch and nothing than the result of outstanding singer-songwriter qualities. The little variations that can be found throughout the whole record bring out the main points and set outstanding highlights. I’m talking about some back ground vocals here (Sweet Clover or Waxwings), some strings there (also Sweet Clover or The Symbol) and great ammounts of silence, which rightfully is used as an instrument (Blackbirds). In Children you even find some decent, sparsely used drums and percussions.
There is not much to add, Lindsay’sThistle The Maker is just the right record if you’re really into singer-songwriter music and acoustic folk. This isn’t a record most of your friends will like (for you are reading CFM you should have experienced that already) but it’s downright not a record you should listen to together with a crowd of others. This music is like an intimate moment for you alone, maybe together with some good like-minded folks. This music needs the quiet – as much as you need it and as much as you love it (at least sometimes). This music is fragile and it should be treated like that. You know what I mean, but I wanted to point that out, because Thistle The Maker is that exqusite fare you have to search for very long, very hard and often very unsuccessful. To get a copy of this piece of folk art, head over to cdbaby.com and buy yours there. For more information, visit Lindsay Clark’sMySpace. And be prepared to hear some new material of Lindsay in the future, for she’s searching for recording locations and musicians right now. I’ll keep you informed.
The wonderful Gold & Silver Recordings are back with a new release, a compilation full of acoustic folk at its best. (And you can win an exemplar of it! Wow! More information at the bottom of the page!) Featured are well known artists as well as mostly unknown names which have one thing in common: spare beauty and the magic of creating sad music mostly accompanied by acoustic guitar. You’ll find artists from the US, the UK and Germany – I really like the idea of flawless musical borders and the result shows that the tracks harmonize very well even though they span nearly all around the world. Along with this, the compilation is also a very important sign to the world that Germany’s folk scene is growing and already has got some serious talent. And I don’t say this because I’m proud that there are some serious folk rumors in my home country, I say this for the songs are really that good and because Haruko and Hlynur Gudjonsson did a fantastic job in collecting, partially recording, compiling and releasing this snazzy folk gem.
You won’t be surprised when I’m telling you that Haruko and Hlynur Gudjonsson have songs of their own on the compilation, seems quite natural. I’m just a little bit surprised that they decided to not put on exclusive tracks. But this isn’t a complaint, because both tracks are simply beautiful. Haruko’s song Autumn, Golden Trees was taken from her debut full length Wild Geese and Hlynur Gudjonsson’sNashville Sky Pt. 2 from the great Death Was A Stranger EP (reviewed here). Where Haruko’s voice is ethereal and her guitar play lulling, Hlynur Gudjonsson’s is dark, sad and full of melancholy. But these two songs aren’t the only things you want to listen to, take for example Harmony Circles by Itai Faierman, lo-fi in character, really dry, but still one hell of a folk track with catchy vocal melodies. The contrast to Robh Hokum’s fuller, warmer guitar sound creates a nice tension and especially in comparison to the fantastic, slightly experimental Olenka & The Autumn Lovers song Iron Pump, the variety of the record is proven – but all the time within the boundaries of acoustic folk. The last three tracks of the first half (of 14 tracks overall) display this variety again, even though Frère De Song’sIn My Room is a great addition to Robh Hokum and not so different in style, maybe again a bit richer and fuller in sound. But Frère De Song’s voice got a intense dark night feeling to it and this makes this song really special and one of my favorites. But while talking of favorites, I have to mention Brooklyn/New York based Christopher Paul Stelling…oh, what a fantastic, what a pushing track he contributed. Flawless Executioner shines with wild finger-picked acoustic guitar play and a totally emotional, often collapsing voice. Honest and real. – The completion of side one, so to say, is Jose Delhart (we posted on him earlier). His track got some world music influences from Eastern Europe, I think, and is a nice addition to the whole compilation. But especially this track shows a little weakness of the release, for the volume levels fluctuate quite a bit sometimes. But ok, that’s not really a big deal.
Let’s get to the b-side of the Gold & Silver Compilation #1. And atmospherically harmonious the second half opens with a very quiet and somehow scary track from The Canoe Man that totally reminds me of Flying Saucer Attack’s track In The Light Of Time form the Further album. Ok, it’s not as noisy, but the vocal style is quite similar and so is the overall atmosphere. I don’t know if I should call the track folk, but at least I call it awesome! Jonathan Hicks, the next artist, is more folksy again and his fine little Song For Sailors, with the sea in the background, is quite a nice pick and the somehow droning voice represents both the drinking habit of stereotypical sailors and the rough ocean waves. Annalena Bludau is one artist I knew of for quite some time, musically, but I don’t know, I never got warm with her music. The more I was surprised that her song Laces Of Your Shoes, is such nice, traditional folk, just voice and acoustic guitar, nothing experimental, a decent sound, but a very good mastering, the voice in front, but the guitar not far behind. Really nice melodies and a really good song, maybe I have to rethink my previous opinion about her music.
So, there are only the last three tracks left and they make a really nice final. Things In Herds combine folk sound with the sound of bands like Savoy Grand, I think. The result equally sounds folky with gentle guitar melodies, but also like some good old slowcore (in the vein of Savoy Grand, not necessarily Low). This slowcore moment is also the perfect basis for the following piano and vocals track by Thankyoustreetsound. Sad in melody it is a great track to listen to while leaves are falling and everything turns into brown and yellow shades. Very good music for the night. I think it would have been the perfect last track for the compilation, but I can see the point, that this could have evoked the feeling as if it was put at the end because it doesn’t really fit in musically. That’s not the case, but I think everyone who has at least little fun creating mix tapes and playlists, knows about the problem of the last two tracks. So there was a decision necessary and Haruko and Hlynur Gudjonsson decided to put Patrick Graham’s song Turn Into Dust to the end. And I understand the reasons for that, the track represents the whole compilation, pure acoustic folk, pure acoustic guitar, very nice song structure with an very interesting break shortly before the end. And then the last notes pass away and then there’s silence (what is not true because the compilation runs on repeat here, but anyways…)
Ok, now the part where I tell you what to do to win an exemplar of this great CDr compilation: just write a 5000+ words essay on the topic of contemporary folk music. HAHA, yeah, just kiddin’ here…if you really want to win that copy, just write me an e-mail and I will randomly choose one winner from all entries. This contest will last 24 hours. If you don’t get lucky and you still want a copy, you should visit Gold & Silver Recordings’ MySpace site and order your copy via pm or mail. And don’t forget to write me that e-mail – fine music’s waiting!
Tim And Sam’s Tim And The Sam Band With Tim And Sam, well, let’s just call them Tim & Sam. After 2 years and over 200 played shows, the band from North Wales finally released their debut record with the name Life Stream. According to the press release, it’s their goal to combine folk and rock. I agree with this but want to make an adjustment: they combine folk as in indie folk and rock as in post rock. I will give examples for this later. First of all: I enjoy this record, but with mixed feelings, it will certainly not be one of my 2010 favorites, but it sounds fresh, varied and independent and shows a band with lots of ideas and potential.
It’s a daring task to mix up genres and to create a somehow unique sound because this often separates the audiences – some will love the music, some will hate it. But I don’t want to overdramatize here, because post rock and indie folk isn’t such a experimental combination like folk and hardcore techno or post rock and funk. Besides that the mixture of Tim & Sam doesn’t try to mix up all elements into one sound, but they meander between post rock and indie folk. The result is an album with genuine (happy) post rock tracks like Summer Solstice and genuine indie folk tracks like All Tucked Up. A real combination of both genres can’t be found easily, maybe Out In The Ocean, Choices or Coming Home are representing candidates, but in the end still more indie folk orientated. And that’s the point, I think the indie folk aspect is a bit overemphasized. Especially tracks like Finders Keeper are an earsaw to me and I really don’t like them being on the album.
And that’s not because I don’t like Tim & Sam’s music, it’s the opposite, for I clearly see the potential of the band in such great tracks like the mentioned Summer Solstice, Out In The Ocean or Choices. Even the decision that they play a post rock track here and an indie folk track there is fine with me, because the album never comes apart. I’m just not happy how the album turns out in the end, it seems that Tim & Sam’s record could have been really deep and exclusive, but they wanted it to sound a little bit funnier and airier. And because of this fact, which explains the overemphasis on indie folk, Life Stream gets a little bit, not random, but flattened and I don’t have the urgent feeling to listen to this album over and over. And that’s not necessarily a bad sign, but it’s an indicator that something isn’t quite right. And in my case that something is the forced indie folk fun factor and the forced happiness. I’ve some distrust in the album while listening, it’s like a smiling person that’s really sad inside, façade – and music shouldn’t be façade, it should be true and honest. And that I can’t feel.
You may ask youself, why I feature this album even though I don’t write negative reviws. The answer is simple, because I don’t think that Life Stream is a bad album, I think it shows great musical talent, a sense for writing good songs and arrangements, skill in playing instruments and so on. It’s just that the whole isn’t as good as the parts. At least in my opinion, because the album got much praise from all around the net and not few reviewers loved it very much. I just can’t love it, but I still like it though and I want you to form your own opinion about it. If I should rate the album, I would give 60 out of 100 points. I’m curious to hear the follow up record. To order your copy of Tim & Sam’s record, click this link. Don’t forget to visit Tim & Sam’sMySpace and band homepage.
A big thank you goes out to Lee from Knox Road for sending over the music to CFM!
A little bit late, but finally Robin Grey gets featured here at CFM too. Early in January I found his album through Song, By Toad and just recently I saw a feature over at Schallgrenzen. There I posted a comment and because of this comment Robin Grey contacted me and asked for a review, not knowing that I loved his album since I found it in January. But as things go, I totally forgot to post about Robin Grey’s music and needed this reminder even though his music was a regular in my hi-fi for quite some time. But now I can take actions and fix things by introducing this great singer-songwriter/folk artist from the UK to all of you that haven’t heard of him yet.
Strangers With Shoes is Robin’s second full length, follow up to the 2008 Following The Missile debut and 2009′s I Love Leonard Cohen EP. And it’s something special, Robin created a very professional record that combines string instruments, piano, acoustic guitar, percussions and vocals and even accordion to an unusual folk with earworm guarantee, but not because the tracks would be just hooky melodies without fundament, but because every track is distinct from the others. I mentioned the accordion and because of it in combination with the monotonous percussion and the occasional strings the album opener, Younger Looking Skin, will stay in mind for a long time. But this is clearly not the only highlight on the CD, there are more; not to say every track seems to be a highlight. Roses From Africa starts as a slowed down folk song, and in the end becomes a classical seeming tune combining genres. A brilliant conclusion to the album. In between those two mentioned tracks there are e.g. the two wonderful songs I Love Leonard Cohen and Montreal. The first is a sing-along folk song with one happy and one sad eye in which Robin sings about his love to Leonard Cohen while everything steadily changes. What a wonderful homage and what a wonderful track. And speaking of wonderful tracks Montreal is just another of those outstanding folk moments on the album. Totally different in character, with banjo melodies, melancholic singing, spares, it transports a atmosphere of goodbys and loneliness.
I don’t want to go track by track, but also the remaining ones are this high in quality and Strangers With Shoes is clearly one album that lives from its diversity, or better: its ability to exhaust the folk genre without leaving the boarders or being really experimental. It shows the different facets you can realize while keeping your sound folky – and therefore it succeeded big in being really entertaining to the core. Robin’s voice sounds mature and could belong to an experienced folk singer-songwriter, at least sometimes, in tracks like the Younger Looking Skin this feature doesn’t shine through as clearly as in exempli gratia Ninety Days. But this is again another point that adds up to the discussed variety. Stranger With Shoes can be called a very solid album that has no real weak points from the beginning to the end. Even if I try really hard imagining what could have been better, it is very little I find. Maybe adding one track more to the album would have been a good decision, but with 37 minutes it already has got optimal album playing time in my opinion…it’s just that the album is over very fast because there is no single minute of boringness. So this seems to be no critical point at all. I have no idea what to criticize, Strangers With Shoes seems to be immune to negative critic. And so be it.
If you’re interested in hearing the whole album, there are several options to purchase it/get it: Buy the CD version and immediately get a download code for the 320kbps MP3s or just buy the MP3s directly. This can be done via Robin Grey’sbandcamp site. And here is a little surprise I have for you reading the whole review (or just scrolling down to the end): if you just want to take a listen to the album, you can download a 192kbps MP3 version of it completely for free by clicking this link. That’s just great, I know, but don’t hesitate to spend some bucks too. Strangers With Shoes – folk up!
As a CFM reader there is a fair chance that you know J. Tillman (of course you do…) and therefore I assume that you are also familiar with his amazing 2007 Cancer And Delirium record. But do you remember the label that released the album? If not, you really should. Yer Bird Records is a small label putting out high quality (often folk) music. Along with J. Tillman there are releases from folk/folk rocker The Gunshy, alt country band Blackbird Harmony (who sadly broke up) and of course folk singer-songwriter Hezekiah Jones, just to name a few. The reason why I tell you this is simple: Yer Bird Records just re-launched and has new owners – and if you haven’t heard it yet, it’s nobody else than Sandy (from the Slowcoustic blog) and his wife Judy. I don’t know, but I see a future full of great music releases coming and Yer Bird will be their home. To celebrate the re-launch, Yer Bird received a full make over and a new, great looking layout – but that’s not all! If you haven’t purchased Hezekiah Jones’ music yet, you can now order an exclusive bundle from Yer Bird’s store containing all his releases. Still more to come: the line-up for the follow up compilation of the stunning Folk Music For The End Of The World was confirmed (but not yet shared). But I can let you know that it will be awesome – lot’s of great bands, that’s for sure. The title will be Folk Music For What Lies Ahead and “is meant to represent the new launch of the label”. Release date seems to be set for summer – but let’s start celebrating right now! Be sure to visit Yer Bird and have a look around.
Here is a quote from the original newsletter:
Just wanted to send a note out about what’s going on at Yer Bird Records HQ. Yer Bird has recently move from Philadelphia to The Great White North…Calgary, Alberta and is now under the watchful eyes and ears of Judy & Sandy Smith (you may recognize Sandy from the Slowcoustic music blog). Along with a new look for the website (www.yerbird.com) we have also added digital downloads and a couple of new offerings!!
So, part 2. Yesterday I received a music submission for Uncles‘ upcoming debut album Replacing Words With Other Words. Uncles is a collaboration between Dan Bateman and Will Schwartz, two Queens-based singer-songwriters. The label shares the first two tracks which are very promising. Acoustic folk for the most time, but the info-sheet states that the album will also explore other genres, officially it says:
There’s a lot of sex on the record, some urban grit, a fair share of plaintive mid-western balladeering, tales of nursing-home dimentia, and plenty of violence, too. It’s a musically diverse album, with different members of the Ensemble of Uncles bringing their training from free jazz, classical, and folk idioms to support the songs.
I don’t know what the result will be like, but in the mail I received I read that it might sound a bit like Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – and judging from the quote I can really imagine this and it makes me very curious to hear the full record. The two shared songs hopefully represent the overall quality of Replacing Words With Other Words, but I will keep you updated as soon as I have the opportunity to listen to the full record. The album will be officially released due April 15. This is their MySpace – check it out for further details.
In correspondence with yesterday’s indie rock post I deceided to post another (not entirely) indie rock related article today. But I want to keep this very short, because I’m really not in the mood for blogging right now. Dreamboat offers a very nice label sampler that features exclusive tracks from upcoming albums as well as material from 2009. The mix of the different styles is very good and indie rock (Three Conored Moon) goes hand in hand with acoustic folk (Whalebone Polly) and electronic soundscapes (The Rollercoaster Project). I don’t liked the Bear In Heaven track, but the rest is really good stuff and even the sampler as a whole is very enjoyable to listen to.
I originally found the compilation through a post over at Das Klienicum, so all the credit goes there. If you want a digital copy of the sampler, just click here. But the best things come last: the label offers the sampler as a pressed CD completely for free. You just have to send an e-mail to email@example.com and they ship your copy to everywhere in the world (I got mine already!) – that’s great PR. For more information visit Dreamboat Records.
Hello there, dear CFM readers, I’m a bit lazy today and won’t do a full review. But this also gives me the opportunity to spread the news about some topics. First of all: I hope you all remember the lovely alt country band This Frontier Needs Heroes (if not, I spoke about them here). Jessica and Brad currently collecting money for their new record and started a Kickstarter project to get the money in. If you like their music or if you want to eat pasta with the band or if you even want them to play a personal concert at your house, you should visit their Kickstarter page and pledge some dollars. I know that the upcoming album will be great, so why not pre-order your signed copy right now and help them finance the project? Seriously, this is also the opportunity to get some rare band stuff!
Knitting Something Nice For You (Aidan Knight cover from These Friends (Single)) download single!
In other news: Canadian folk band Two Bicycles has just released a new video for a song from their new EP The End. I was totally taken aback as I watched and heard it. It’s just a wonderful folk song full of heart and the spring really delivers some nice colors to the scene. You really should check it out, if you are into acoustic folk. And don’t forget to visit the band’s bandcamp page to download a single from the new EP, as well as a two track cover single and the 2009 full length album for free (or simply use the links above)! I know you want it – so get it.
Ok, the following one is not really breaking news, in fact I’m going to talk about an album that is 9 years old already. Why would I do so? Simply because the music is great and I found it only yesterday, sifting through my HD. It’s from a songstress I never heard of, US folkster Amy Annelle, but she has released many and one album until now and is also about to release a new one soon (called The Cimarron Banks). So, this could be a way to get to know her. I don’t want to spend too much words on A School Of Sectret Dangers because I said, I won’t do a review today, but I strongly recommend to watch out for her music in the future – that is, if you don’t already know it. I will keep you updated as well. And that’s it for today.
Even though MacGregor Burns’ CD This Is Gonna Be That Kind Of Party maybe deserves more words than are written here, I will keep this review as lo-fi as the the music itself. As far as I can see, the record is Burns’ debut, but yet he must be well known in the street s of Baltimore/Maryland for he seems to be a regular act there; and if you look at the bands he played with, you see that many names are very alien and unknown, but more important, you see that it’s a huge number. The actual tracks on the album are acoustic folk in its purest form: vocals and acoustic guitar – recorded with a Fisherprize Recorder that adds lots of lo-fi-ness to the music. And some lo-fi folk never could be wrong on Sunday afternoons I guess. The reduced instrumentation is no problem for MacGregor, because he did a really good job writing varied melodies and songs with different moods. Overall it’s quite pleasant listening to the album, though it seems that I’m not really into this full on lo-fi stuff anymore – at some points I just wished that the sound would have been a bit clearer. But for all you hometaping and lo-fi lovers this should be the real deal. The album seems to be released via Environmental Aesthetics, but I have no exact release date, as well as I don’t have the cover artwork for the record. If you’re really interested in the music, you should contact MacGregor Burns personally via his MySpace site.
I’m proud to introduce to you: Shelley Miller, songstress hailing from Chicago/Illinois who is about to release her third album When It’s All Gone, You Come Back that will hit the road March 9. The album reminds me of Joe Pug’s masterpiece Messenger even though it’s not quite the same style. But the meandering trough quiet acoustic tracks (Nadine or Blame The Sky) and more aroused ones (Hard Love or the e-guitar driven Fool For Loving You) is a shared feature of both artists. If you are familiar with Australian (now London based) singer-songwriter Holly Throsby, you also will hear definite parallels in the wonderful ballads Shelley offers en masse (best example is All The Way Down, that even shows some shared vocal techniques).
The strength of the record lies in its variety, at least if you’re looking for an album that combines rock ballads, extremely well played acoustic folk with wonderfull shimmering melodies (maybe with some jazz pop flavor at some points), indie folk (I Don’t Mind or Burn To Buckle) and a portion of alt country appeal (It Was Billy). Personally I think the mix is bold but also shows the talent for creating a consistent overall picture, because everything seems to be at the right place if you take the time to really listen to the whole album from the beginning to the end. Every time the record seems to get a bit monotonous, Shelley manages to prevent it from happening. Take the track Wait For You as an example, it starts with only acoustic guitar and vocals, but in the middle some cymbals come in and then some decent percussions in the back wherefore the track never gets boring. In fact the songs are all really good, well arranged and composed with lots of ideas (e.g. the great violin melody in the background of Texarkana).
Privately Shelley Miller works as a guitar teacher and I don’t know if this is one of the reasons, that she’s able to write such lovely and great melodies. Love Is Not Crazy shows so many emotions, so much feeling alone in the guitar notes that you instantly know: this woman got enormous talent and it should not take too long to find a constant audience and a regular fan base. The more I listen to When It’s All Gone, You Come Back, the more I hear the jazzy nuances and a hint of Katie Melua’s jazz/blues pop of her first album Piece by Piece. And I know, Katie Melua isn’t quite the best reference for an indie blog that gives a big F You to all shitty major labels, but Piece By Piece had its moments and I think I can hear some of them here too. But don’t worry, Shelley Miller just uses those influences to add her personal mark to them – no copying, but rather an improving of given structures.
So the music flies by and guides you through many different genres of mostly acoustic music, Shelley’s voice is present all the time as an important and unique part, forming the character of the album. But, to be honest, sometimes I got the idea that the music was written around the vocals, what leads to the assumption that the music itself was neglected a bit. I’m talking about Figure It Out. The song is, as I said above, very well placed in the whole context of the album, but it also is the weakest track in my opinion. I just can’t feel the honesty, the passion, but maybe that’s just my point of view and I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. Let’s just say that even such a good album like this one has its little blemish and quirks (remember the e-guitar driven rock ballad track Fool For Loving You among all those sensitive acoustic tracks?).
On the long run the positive aspects are clearly the elements that shape the record and the acoustic ballads are the real strength of it. I think it reasonable to tag the album as folk, even though it isn’t quite the earthy folk often featured here. It’s more like the jazzy, dark-red cushion folk that nearly got nothing in common with the folk that is played by folksters like the recently featured Tim Schmidt or alltime classic Laura Gibson. But listen to the tracks I embedded, they are just beautiful and they are good indicators for the rest of the album. This music is good, this music is good, this music is…ehm…you get my point – and now don’t wait and pre-order the record directly via Shelley’spersonal homepage or buy the MP3s via cdbaby.com. If you want to preview some tracks, you can check out her MySpace or her Last.fm site (with all the tracks streamable).
And don’t forget to join the release party of the album on March 12if you are in the area. “The CD release party is Friday, March 12 @ 9 pm at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Advance tickets/info available at http://www.martyrslive.com.“
Have you heard about the Melodica Festival yet? If not, I will tell you something about it. The Melodica Festival was designed by Melbourne musician Pete Uhlenbruch in 2007 as a platform to unite musicians from the local music scene and to share and celebrate acoustic music. The festival got positive feedback and soon grew. The result of this growing process is remarkable: meanwhile the festival operates in Melbourne and Sydney (Australia), Hamburg (Germany), Reykjavik (Iceland) and Brighton (UK). This is quite a spanning network dedicated to acoustic music from around the world if you ask me – even though I think the US and Canada, as well as Sweden have to join the list of festival sites yet. If you play acoustic (folk) music, I highly recommend getting in touch with the good folks of Melodica (via their MySpace site) – maybe the next time you (and your band) will be on stage too.
Before I got in contact with Torben Stock (featured on the compilation), I didn’t know about the festival, although the (well known) Hasenschaukel in Hamburg kept featuring artists over the last years. But better late than never – and so Torben sent me a copy of the first Melodica Compilation which features 13 artists from all around the world. The CD was released back in 2009, but is quite fresh and I think it introduces a lot of new and still unknown bands to the listener. The music is mostly acoustic in nature – what a surprise – but you’ll find very different styles and I wouldn’t consider everything being folk music at all – not even all tracks are acoustic all the time. But this isn’t bad, for the idea of bringing music, musicians and listeners together in such a laudable way is really great and deserves huge respects.
Let’s get to the music and to the different styles I spoke of. On the MySpace site you find the term “coffeehouse folk” and if you focus more on coffeehouse than on folk this could be a very good impression of how the compilation sounds, because I really can imagine sipping some strong black coffee in a cozy coffeehouse while listening to this music – maybe the perfect soundtrack for lazy coffeehouse Saturday afternoons. To give you a feeling for the variety, there are contemporary folk songs with mostly acoustic guitar and vocals as played by Owls Of The Swamp or Torben Stock or Athebustop, the latter with some hints of indie folk. And indie folk is also the genre most of the songs can be described as, such as tracks from Ivar or Kid Decker. Some of them are a bit harder like Astrid’s Farm’s song Full Metal Jacket that drifts a little bit more to the folk rock side. Other bands combine pop and folk to some pop (chamber) folk mix, such as Mysterious Marta’s track The Question. And even some dream pop can be heard by listening to Myrra Rós’ mixture of folk and electronic elements.
As you see, there is a lot of different music, but still the compilation is well compiled and the creators had a good feeling for choosing and arranging the tracks. But because of the wide range of genres some tracks can fascinate more than others – not everything is quite my taste, but this is a problem every compilation has to face. The CD works well as promotion for the festival and otherwise the festival seems to be represented in a good way by the CD. For every interested and a bit open minded folk fan, this could be a nice item to add to one’s collection. Just think of it as mostly acoustic coffeehouse (folk) music. To get a copy of the compilation, write a message to the mail address mentioned on the Melodica Compilation MySpace site. I will let you know as soon as another issue of the compilation is available.
As promised, here is the second post for today and I have to apologize to all readers of CFM for not posting anything the last two days. But I hope with John Goraj (born in Sioux Falls/South Dakota, but now living in Los Angeles/California) I can bring you some really lovely music for the beginning of the week. I think it quite possible that you have heard about him, because back in 2008, when Possible, the album I’m going to write about, was released, both You Crazy Dreamers and Slowcoustic featured John’s music. So, why would I do a review just now? The answer is simple: because John contacted me and I really don’t have the heart for not supporting great acoustic folk music if I can lay my hands on it.
This being said, I hope you already crave Possible. And doing so is just natural because the album got a fascinating aura of honesty to it. Acoustic guitar and vocals are the main elements of all the tracks, which are supported, as often in folk music, by banjo and cello (if I’m not mistaken here). You see, the cornerstones for a good listening experience are placed. But does John Goraj achieve to get the right filling? Stupid question, of course he does and he mainly uses two strategies. The first is characterized by reducing the tracks to their core to get to the heart of music. This reduction can be heard in the awesome Across Your Mountain or the album opener Woven. Both tracks stand out because you think that you are really near to the music and the musician. This closeness opens the door to really feel with the artist and to get near him, but it also keeps away, at least a bit, the possibilities of writing more complex songs with more instruments involved.
That brings me to the second strategy I spoke about and that is quite the opposite of the applied reduction, for it is replaced by harmonies between different instruments which are layered on top of each other. This implying leads to very different songs clearly distinct from the ones mentioned above. The most outstanding example is the title track, because it combines acoustic guitar, banjo, cello and different singing styles to one complex example of great songwriting. Where the first strategy leads to more intimate songs, the second strategy leads to more intensive ones. And this doesn’t mean that the more intimate ones aren’t intensive or vice versa – they just have a different focus.
So John Goraj recorded an acoustic folk album that meanders between those two shores without losing the fluency at any moment. Along the way questions are asked such as: why we are, why do we love and what is love? Every human being is lost in a river, everything moves around him, has to move, but, and that seems to be the question above all others, how and where should we adhere, what is the secret to swim in this river and not only get flushed away? So much for integrating metaphors into my reviews, but I think the picture describes the album quite appropriate. And if you are willing to ask these questions for yourself, don’t hesitate and listen to what John Goraj is saying and thinking. Feel with him and let him inspire you.
Honestly, if you have some money left and you want to fill one open spot in your music collection, don’t hesitate and head over to cdbaby.com and buy your personal copy (physical copies as well as MP3s are available). For more free streaming tracks and possible updates on forthcoming releases visit John’sMySpace. To say it briefly: this is fine folk for fine folks.
One of the most anticipated albums of 2010 is finally available – Joanna Newsom is back with her third regular studio album by the name of Have One On Me. The advertising for the record was really good and everybody will have noticed the release in the forefield. One of the facts that stuck in everybody’s head clearly was the overall playing time of over two hours. Personally I’m really cool with this, but I have to admit that it will take me weeks or months to really get into the album. Often it’s hard enough to really get into a thirty-five minute album and Have One On Me is about four times as long. So I don’t conceal that this review is build on a very early stage of diving into the music – wherefore I deceided to just write a rather short and pregnant review for this long and sprawling album.
First of all, I really liked The Milk-Eyed Mender but did not spend so much time with Ys. I listend to it a couple of times, but it did not hook me up. So I was really anxious to hear Have On On Me for I somehow expected it to be more like the debut. I now see that this was a rather wrong expectation. The tracks reach from 2 to 11 minutes and it seems like a compromise between The Milk-Eyed Mender and Ys for every track on Have One On Me is 7 minutes long in average (the average of Ys was about 11min and of The Milk-Eyed Mender about 4,5min). Whatever this proves, the album is clearly not more accessible due to the huge amount of tracks.
The single songs reach from more experimantal tracks (the title track) to regular folk songs (On A Good Day or Jackrabbits). In California for example is a song that sounds more classical than folky – and this suits the record very well for the whole character is less folky than classical orientated. Or better formulated: the often mentioned combination of neo-classic and folk found another sharp realization that shows how both genres can be combined. But apart from this description there are tracks that draw from the blues (Good Intension Paving Company) and even from soft pop ballads (Esme or Autumn). Outstanding is the only-harp-and-vocals track Go Long with its eastern influences. Overall I have the feeling that the record gets more and more quiet and introverted to the end; the wild parts are mostly found in the first half.
It’s not surprising that I come to the conclusion that Have One On Me sounds just like another Joanna Newsom album – in a good way. And so all the expectations have been fulfilled: Joanna sings like Joanna (maybe a bit more reduced), the instrumentation of the record is as wide as the promo tracks suggested (guitars, strings, piano, horn, drums, harp of course, and so on), the songs need attention to settle in your mind for they are full of ideas, creativity and avand-garde. The last feature maybe makes it a bit hard to let this record become your best friend, because it can sometimes be exhausting to listen and listen and listen…evokes some sort of claustrophobic feeling. Furthermore, Anthony Fantano (from The Needle Drop) said in his current video review “from time to time Joanna Newsom can feel really indulgent to the point where you trying to wonder who she is attempting to entertain – herself or the listener.” And this is a great observation, for some moments are really hard to follow and/or to love – but then, on the other hand, the music is purely Joanna and so it can also be interpreted as a good thing. Deceide for yourself.
Have One On Me is a very good album, maybe not the best release the year 2010 will see, especially not in the boundaries of folk music, but still an album every serious music fan should check out, alone for the richness of the sound and all the creativity within. To get your copy, order it straight from Drag City or get your MP3s over at iTunes.
Originally I intended to write about Joanna Newsom’s new album, but due to a really nice incident (meeting a close friend I haven’t seen in a while) I don’t have the time today. So I adjurn it to tomorrow.
For now I offer just a handful of very nice songs. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Get ready for a sleeper from Canada, more exactly from Montréal/Quebec: Robert Cole, creating music under the moniker Friend Of All The World. His debut was released not so long ago and goes by the name of Up These Branches. Referring to the official website, it took one year and a half to record it – and the result is very pleasant and promising.
Up These Branches is just the right album if you want a bit of melancholic fall feeling, but with lots of colored leaves falling. The title track is a perfect example for this, because Robert’s voice is sort of modest and sad. The acoustic guitar melodies and the sparsely used strings are just the right companions to underline the atmosphere and the banjo plays his part mostly forgotten in the background together with the slight percussions. But the richness of the instrumentation bars the track from becoming dark and depressed. As I said, it’s more a fall full of colors, reflective but with perspective (rhyme not intended). And this I would also call the basic trend of all the other songs.
What is just great besides the autumnal overall character is the fact, that the music does not drift so much towards what I call indie folk and stays more folk orientated. The lack of indie-ness gives a more earthy feeling to all of the 9 compositions wherefore they sound more serious and just a good deal more folky (indeed…). More Than I Could Say and Under The Dome Of Night’s Sky represent this in a very good way and I think if, say the recently reviewed Prattle On, Rick would do covers of the songs, it would be in more indie folk orientated fashion (or to get the clearer picture, just think of the often on CFM mentioned Home EP by Benjamin Gibbard & Andrew Kenney, because this is the indie folk style this album does not sound like).
All together I have very little to complain about, because the album shows talent for song-writing, a good feeling for different melodies on different instruments, as well as the needful honesty coming from the musician’s heart. But one little detail is strange; I listened to the album many times over the last time and the tracks seem to fight back against staying in your head somehow. But I can’t tell you exactly why – maybe the single songs sound a bit too much the same at some points (compare Asleep For The Winter and Golden Days). But then I don’t think that the record is boring at any time or does really copy itself. So I can’t give you appropriate reasons for my feelings.
Up These Branches made me very excited to hear what comes from this band in the future, because I think that the next release could be a real killer if the sound mellows just a little bit more. Anyways, consider me as a fan from now on. If you are interested in the music too (and you should be!), you should check out Friend Of All The World’shomepage (where you can buy a copy of the album) and his MySpace for further information.
I’m a bit late on this, but I’m sure most of you fans of folk and singer-songwriter music have heard about Joe Pug’s masterpiece Messenger by now. Nevertheless, there is no change of not featuring it here on CFM for it is nothing less than an album that surly will be defining folk in 2010 – and I think it does already and I also think that there is no way to close your eyes on it. And be sure, I know that hyped albums often come with the strange character, that the most praised music is just the music you have least interest in hearing (at least you think so before really listening to it). And with hyped I do mean hyped as used in our little world of independent folk music blogging.
When it comes to the point where I should explain what the reason is for the wide success and the numerous kind words Messenger received, I honestly can’t tell you exactly. Joe Pug is a folk guy, trying to make honest music by writing songs. He’s not a great experimenter and he doesn’t try to revolutionize music, he uses what other singer-songwriters have used ever since: guitar (lap steel and acoustic), harmonica and his voice. His song-structures can be called classic, his songs come from an honest heart and a pair of open eyes. His voice neither sounds like a male version of Joanna Newsom nor like the throaty one of The Gunshy, it sounds individually but not eccentric. Everything seems to be so normal, so familiar.
And maybe that’s the point of the whole matter – Messenger is like a cozy chimney fire, a good friend or a pleasing day of your favorite season. It got the power to warm you; it’s ready to take you by the hand when nobody’s watching and it makes you happy by just being around you. It depicts what folk music was and is known for: the eye for the little details in the big context. But I also made the experience that I had to spend some time to get acquainted with the album. The first two or three times I wasn’t listening carefully enough and the music just went by…like an interesting stranger. Later you remember him and you start thinking about him – but with the difference that you got the change to meet him again. And as soon as you internalized every facet of the record, it will not leave you anymore. Maybe that’s one important aspect in calling an album intimate.
Messenger isn’t particularly sad in its overall character, it’s not the darkest or depressed album you will hear in 2010. Tracks like The Door Was Always Open have a good drive forwards, the instrumentation, with the lively drums, the hopeful banjo melody and the playful harmonica, is miles away from a “sad bastard” sound (according to a term Smansmith over at Slowcoustic likes to use). The same applies for the title track and the last song on the album. They come with fuller sound, especially Speak Plainly, Diana which is the “hardest” tune on the record. But along these tracks there is clearly what one can call the sad bastard sound (with alt country influences, for the whole album got some alt country feeling). Disguise As Someone Else or Unsophisticated Heart or Not So Sure or The Sharpest Crown or… should serve as proves.
In combining faster and harder tracks with sad and melancholic tunes and sad amazingly told stories (How Good You Are) Joe Pug creates a much diversified album that’s held together by Joe’s knowledge of how far he can go without overstretching it. That’s the reason everything seems to sound so normal, because Messenger doesn’t need anything extravagant or shiny – it’s just what it is and this is mostly Joe Pug himself and this is what music is all about. I believe that it’s reasonable to say that Joe found his sound – even though he is only 25 of age. And I don’t mean he found a way to be distinct from others, I mean he found a way to really express feelings and thoughts in words and notes. Sure, there are many ways to do so – but Joe Pug does it just Joe Pug like. I’m not afraid to say that Messenger is another sure candidate for the Best Of 2010 list. And even though I just recently said that I found such a candidate with The Twilite Broadcasters I’m not exaggerating here. Both albums are really that great even though they are not comparable.
And it’s true that there are some political statements here and there and normally I strictly separate music and politics, but in Joe’s case I have no troubles with it – not because I share his opinion or any other opinion on the topics, but because folk music is no punk music. If Joe sings about political matters he does it just the right way a good singer-songwriter should do: with style and not just for the sake of meaningless provocation. You don’t have to agree with a good singer-songwriter, but you will listen to what he has to say, for he really tries to speak to you – he wouldn’t shout you in the face, if you disagree, he would try to listen to you too.