Posts Tagged blues
George Sarah, “Min and Sarah”
Just the relaxing, exuberant song I need right now. Exquisitely emotional, positive vibes and pure art. A talented Los Angeles electronic composer and multi-instrumentalist for 30 years, George Sarah has scored 28 episodes for the Discovery network. What a lovely, perfect pairing. He creates songs using a bank of synthesizers and drum machines as well as a trio of live strings. Gorgeous. The upcoming EP Min and Sarah [Flat Field Records] is out June 17, 2016.
David Trull, “Dark Magic”
Honest bluesy folk from St. Louis based indie singer-songwriter David Trull. Soulful vocals and melancholy arrangements effectively swirl about on this track from Trull’s debut album Coin Toss. For creative inspiration, Trull quit his office job to tackle the Camino de Santiago– an ancient 500 mile pilgrimage route across France and Spain. This song makes you want to wander about and admire your surroundings. To be in the moment.
St. Louis, Missouri-based musician Beth Bombara creates Americana/folk songs with bluesy undertones and earthy vocals. Growing up in Grand Rapids, Mich., Bombara played in a punk band in high school The 32-year-old singer/songwriter moved from Michigan to St. Louis in 2007 to embark on a solo music career. Her musician/producer husband Kit Hamon collaborated on her moving and diverse self-titled fifth album. The recurring themes are existentialism and travel. Quite thoughtful and provocative. She’s currently on tour and plays Club Passim in Harvard Square tonight.
I spoke with Beth Bombara during one of her days off.
Amy Steele: How’s the tour going?
Beth Bombara: It’s been a lot of fun so far.
Amy Steele: How did you get into music and singing and playing instruments?
Beth Bombara: There were always instruments around my house. We had a piano and my mom had a guitar. I was just really into music and teaching myself how to play guitar. I met some kids that wanted to start bands and it was something I always remembered doing.
Amy Steele: What do you like about being a solo artist?
Beth Bombara: I like both but I like playing with a band, in terms of having more band members to play with. In some ways it’s more fun because I don’t have to carry as much weight. I can just focus on singing more and maybe move around stage a little more. I like both. They’re just different. The band aspect there’s more collaboration. Solo. I’m rarely just playing me alone. Usually I have at least my husband playing bass with me.
Amy Steele: You moved to St. Louis in 2007. How has the music scene had an influence on your music now?
Before I moved to St. Louis I was in rock bands and went to a lot of sweaty basement shows and it was fun. I guess that can tie back into why I got into playing music in the first place. It was so fun to go see live music as a teenager. There’s a raw energy and getting to be part of that was fun. I was enamored with instruments and melody. When I moved to St. Louis, I really started experiencing music in the Americana roots music genre and even some blues. It was this perfect evolution of these things coming together. Moving to this place that roots and blues and heritage. A lot of folk coming out of the Ozark mountains. Banjo players and things like that. It definitely had a big influence. Examples of bands that played a part in my evolution after moving to St. Louis: Wilco; Uncle Tupelo; and more underground bands like The Rum Drum Ramblers (who are now a part of Pokey LaFarge’s band); and the Hooten Hallers.
Amy Steele: What makes you work well with your husband, to produce and collaborate on the album?
We have different ideas about things. We come at things from different perspectives. We might not always agree but we realize each perspective is valid. Having a certain respect enables us to use that different perspectives to find the best thing for the song.
Amy Steele: What do you think makes a good song?
Beth Bombara: I feel like the best songs are deceivingly simple if that makes sense. It can’t seem too forced. Simplicity makes good songs. Lyrics that are simple and a melody that is simple but also says something in a brief way .
Amy Steele: Let’s talk about some songs. What they’re about or what the writing process was like.
Amy Steele: “Promised Land”
Beth Bombara: It describes a point in life where I thought that a lot of things are unknown. It’s kinda scary when you don’t know, to plan things, to get a vision for what you’re doing. That definitely came from a place of uncertainty. Feeling this is kind of scary but we have to go into this darkness, unknown and it’s good to do with someone who supports you.
Amy Steele: “Give Me Something”
Beth Bombara: The writing of that was interesting: I did that as a writing experiment where I gave myself only a couple of days to write and record it. It’s kind of an anomaly in my songwriting. I didn’t have a specific idea. It was more stream of consciousness. It speaks to that whole cycle of getting to know somebody and feeling like you’re close and then that’s gone and navigating that.
Amy Steele: “Great the Day”
Beth Bombara: It kind of embodies my mantra. My philosophy. My life philosophy. So many things happen in life that we can’t control. We’re going to experience happiness, we’re going to experience sadness and you have to take that all with a grain of salt and support each other.
Amy Steele: “It Slips Away”
Beth Bombara: I feel like I was in the same emotional state with that song as I was when I wrote “Promised Land.” You’re on a journey and things are a little bit uncertain. Questioning yourself. Did I do the right thing? Am I headed in the right direction?
Amy Steele: What are your greatest challenges?
Beth Bombara: It’s challenging to be a singer/songwriter but not to get stuck in that box. Especially as a female singer/songwriter people have expectations about that. I’m going to show up to a gig with an acoustic guitar or a piano. And those stereotypes are hard to shake off. It’s only hard for me in my mindset. I don’t think it effects how I write songs. It’s just something I run into sometimes.
Amy Steele: What do you like best about being a musician?
Beth Bombara: I like the spontaneity. There are a lot of different areas where being a musician is spontaneous whether on stage playing a song and something happens you didn’t expect to happen. Collaborating with other musicians. I always enjoy that. Getting to meet a lot of people.
I enjoy creating songs. I think that speaks to my personality. I think I’m a maker. I like to make things. I like to garden. I like to screen-print. All these things I like to do have to do with building things. Creating something from nothing.
The Fall is supposed to be an experimental record for Norah Jones and though I hear some country and some varying arrangements throughout, I hear many similarities to 2006’s Not Too Late. Both albums I adore for their sultry, somnolent qualities. Yes, that’s a good thing. Mellow, soothing music heals the heart. It reaches the soul. Jones methodically reveals her emotions through each song. She’s carefully crafted this album. The appeal of Jones is her bluesy, sultry moodiness and her moments of lilting purity. She’s not easy to categorize: not a pop singer, not a jazz singer, not R&B, not blues. Jones does succeed to combine all the best elements of each of those genres for her own signature sound. Jones wrote the majority of her songs and there’s an aching, longing and loneliness running through many of the songs. Stories of lying and cheating men, unfulfilling love and self-doubt. And Jones sings it all with aching maturity, wisdom and elegance. Singing with longing and tinges of regret on “I Wouldn’t Need You” Jones sings: If I could replace/ The things you gave me/ If I could see my face/ Without the tragedy/ Then I wouldn’t need you/ No I wouldn’t need you/ No I wouldn’t need you/ To love me/ But I do. “You Ruined Me” is a country-laced confession: You’ve ruined me now/ Though I liked it/ Now, I’m ruined/ I’m trying to part/ With what’s in my heart/ You’ve ruined me and how/ I thought I liked it/ And haven’t we all been here on the luscious, swirling “Stuck:’ Why can’t it be easy?/ Easy?/ Why don’t you leave?/Leave me?/Leave me be?/I can see you swaying/ I can’t hear what you’re saying/I’m sitting here stuck/ And plastered to my seat/ I think up a reason to leave/ when you finally stop speaking/ I’ll take a long slow/ Walk down Washington Street. On her last song, the vaudeville-inspired “Man of the Hour,” she honors the one who many never cheat on her or hurt her: her dog.
For anyone who’s been in love, wants love or has had a broken heart, The Fall will surely mend some wounds while you cry through the pain. That’s the power and wonder of music. That’s why music is such an essential aspect of my life.
–review by Amy Steele
[review copy courtesy of Blue Note]