Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Three to Consider: Women Folk

Here are three for you to consider--all women singer/songwriters with a folk bent. One I have, one I have other albums by but not the one up for discussion here, and one I know nothing about (but am still willing to write about!).

First up is the newish album, She Ain't Me, from Carrie Rodriguez--her second, and by all accounts her attempt to shift out of her cowgirl-fiddler image. Now I am new to Rodriguez so I don't come to this album with any comparisons to her first album, but I have a sneaky suspicion from reading a variety of "polite reviews" about her efforts at transformation here that I might be a bigger fan of her first effort where the fiddle and her country orientation was more prominent. The strongest songs on this album for me involve that fiddle, although there are definitely some other nice pieces as well. Ultimately, the disc is a bit too generic for me and I can see passing over this disc on my way to Emmylou, Lucinda, or Union Station--probably unfair, but true. Still it has some nice moments and if this is your preferred genre, you will certainly enjoy it. Below I give you one of the fiddle-oriented pieces.

Next up is the new one from Dar Williams. I don't have this one, but I have a couple older DW efforts--although nothing more recent than the 1997 release End of Summer. Below is the opening cut from the new album, Promised Land. "It's Alright" is a solid tune both musically and lyrically if not all that adventuresome--but here is the thing. My previous DW purchases have been based on hearing a couple tracks that are wonderful ("February" on Mortal City can still make me cry) only to find out that they don't really represent the whole album. She has some absolutely beautiful tunes, but also some that, well, aren't and are ultimately just too quirky for me. Consequently, I am cautious. Any input on the Dar out there?

Finally, we have the unknown Kensington Prairie (or at least unknown here at the TR). Below we have "Bluebirds" from the new album Captured in Still Life. Kensington Prairie is the solo effort of Rebecca Rowan, the lead vocalist of Vancouver's indie band Maplewood Lane. This is a perfectly nice little tune and Rowan clearly has a wonderful voice, but truth be told, I got nothin' here and am just hoping that some BC reader will show up and tell me about Rowan and/or Maplewood--hell, even if you aren't from Canada (which we here in the states have of course all just recently learned is close to Alaska), what do ya know/think?

Absence Carrie Rodriguez
It's Alright Dar Williams
Bluebirds Kensington Prairie


The Rowan Family said...


Thank you for highlighting Kensington Prairie :)
This is Rebecca Rowan from the band....I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have...

CPS said...

Hey Rebecca--sorry to miss your comment earlier this month, but thanks for stopping by this humble blog. I still haven't gotten around to picking up the album, but still have you all on the list. The question I always want to ask any artist is: if a listener wanted to hear what you think is the most representative offering of your work--the place you would like us to start--what should we pick up?

So if you are still checking in, I would love to know your answer to that question.