“Both feet together/Slowly progressing” sings Dan Mangan on the opening track of Oh Fortune. The line is both telling of the artist himself while, at the same time, being entirely false. Mangan may be “slowly progressing” with each successive album, but it’s only slow because he started so high in the first place.
Released in late September, Oh Fortune is the third full length album from the Canadian born heart breaker and is a worthy successor to 2009′s solid Nice, Nice, Very Nice. Like all of Mangan’s music the songs here are built off his gruff voice and strong lyrics that, paired together, make a dangerously good combination. Musically the album is similar to previous records while being slightly more expansive. Included are electric guitars that sound like something out of Fang Island’s repertoire (see “Post-War Blues”), feedback like electronic noises, and swooping strings of violins and cellos that are familiar to Mangan’s music. Inside the album are expansive moments as well as quieter, simpler, moments that contrast brilliantly against one another. One such example is the sudden change between the album’s third and fourth songs, “Post-War Blues” and “If I am Dead.” The former has a rich accompaniment of instruments and sounds that mounts to an impressive climax, ending with a single drum beat. The latter then picks up with nothing more than a voice and a guitar. The difference is exhilarating, keeping the listener both off kilter and enthralled. Continue reading
America’s neighbors to the north have some serious folk cred. Canada has given rise to the likes of Feist, City and Colour’s Dallas Green, and the lesser known but brilliant Dan Mangan. Known for his gravelly voice, piercing lyrics and impassioned live shows Mangan has built a dedicated fan base in both his native Canada as well as the rest of the world. Despite these devoted fans he isn’t nearly as well known as he should be. His newest release, Oh Fortune, is easily one of the best folk albums of 2011 and will hopefully give this troubadour the wide recognition he deserves.
Recommended Songs: “Basket,” “Robots,” “Rows of Houses,” “Oh Fortune”
For a taste of Dan Mangan check out the music video for “Rows of Houses” below. Also, be sure to visit his website and follow him on twitter!
Frightened Rabbit is the brainchild of Scottish folkie Scott Hutchinson. The project started as just a man with his guitar and has since grown into a full fledged folk rock group with legions of fans. As is the case with a lot of contemporary folk, what drives the songs of Frightened Rabbit is passion. Hutchinson consistently pushes his vocal chords to the point of breaking and couples it with provocative lyrics. These two elements combine brilliantly for a result that is magnificent. Three superb albums have come from this group so far, including 2008′s The Midnight Organ Fight which is one of the best folk albums in the last 10 years. Their latest release is a short EP consisting of three songs appropriately entitled A Frightened Rabbit EP. Hopefully a full length is right around the corner, but until then take a moment to get familiar with this incredible group!
Recommended Songs: “The Modern Leper,” “Heads Roll Off,” “Footshooter,” “The Loneliness and the Scream”
For more on Frightened Rabbit check out the recommended songs above and be sure to visit their website, myspace, and follow them on twitter!
Scott plays “The Twist” off The Midnight Organ Fight for Banstand Busking
Dylan Priest takes awesome photos of musicians, like the one above. Check out his website, dylanpriest.com to view his photos. There is a great set subjecting one of my favorite bands, The Head and the Heart that is a can’t miss if your a fan of those folkies. I discovered Priest when visiting another website that posted a very in depth interview with The Head and the Heart’s Jonathan Russel. For that interview head to Musician on Musicians!