The Clearing, Bowerbirds‘ third album, wastes no time taking hold. Opener “Tuck the Darkness In” is an absolute stunner that starts of quiet and slowly blooms into something beautiful. The rest of the album follows suit.
The sound here is a more polished than the group’s previous efforts. A few new aspects are added, such as electric guitar riffs on “In the Yard,” and a rousing clap line on “Stitch the Hem.” All the instrumentation works wonderfully together. Moore’s voice and guitar are relied on less heavily, making space for some of the new sounds, which is a nice change of pace. The album is lush, with sounds at every turn for the listener to focus on. It makes for an enjoyable listening experience as every song feels varied from minute to minute. The structure of the songs is also quite brilliant. The songs rise and fall at the perfect moments, instruments are added or taken away at the right moments, everything works.
At the heart of the album, as it has always been with Bowerbirds, is Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, and they’re spectacular harmonies. Fans of the band already know that Moore has one of the best voices in all of folk, but here we learn that his partner is something special as well. Unlike albums past, Tacular takes center stage on a few songs, and more than holds her own. Tracks “In the Yard” and “Hush” put her beautiful vocals on full display. The two voices also work beautifully together. Much like the vocalists for Of Monsters & Men, it’s as if Moore and Tacular are vocal soul mates. They complement each other brilliantly. Continue reading
Today, the Newport Folk Festival, to be held on July 28 & 29, announced its lineup. The July weekend is packed with star studded acts such as Iron & Wine, City & Colour, Blind Pilot, The Tallest Man on Earth, Dawes, Jackson Browne, The Head & The Heart, Conor Oberst, Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men, and many more. Head over to the festival’s website to check out the full lineup. Tickets are on sale now for Saturday and Sunday as well as a limited supply package deal for both days.
Not many people think of Australia as a folkie haven. That moniker is usually associated with North America and Europe. In the past year, however, Australia has introduced two brilliant young folk acts. Boy & Bear had one of my favorite songs of 2011, and, had I known about them before the new year, The Paper Kites would have been right along side. In August 2011 the group released an EP entitled Woodland. The record is built on sweet harmonies, gently finger-picked guitars, and heart-wrenching lyrics. The sound is reminiscent of recently disbanded Australian folk stars The Middle East, but slightly lighter in both instrumentation and subject matter. One can only hope that these folksters will find success like the The Middle East, who had numerous songs featured on TV shows and movies, most notably “Blood.” If they do, a second hope will be that they don’t break our hearts, but instead continue to make beautiful music.
Recommended Songs: “Bloom,” “Woodland,” “Featherstone”
For more on The Paper Kites check out the songs above and the videos below! Also, be sure to like the band on Facebook and follow them on Twitter!
Official music video for “Bloom.”
Official music video for “Featherstone.”
Bonnaroo, the annual musical festival in Tennessee, announced its lineup today and it is packed with folkie goodness. Folk favorites playing the festival include The Avett Brothers, The Shins, Bon Iver, City and Colour, The Civil Wars, Blind Pilot, Laura Marling, Punch Brothers, Ben Howard, and many more. Check out the full list here!