Posts Tagged ‘Woodsist / Mare Records’

This Kansas City songwriter made a strong debut with her stately, elegant full-length, The first two singles from Anna St. Louis’ debut album If There Only Was a River (“Understand” and “The Bells”) introduce us to the songwriter’s subtle fingerpicking style, but on “Desert,” the third, her husky tenor absolutely steals the spotlight. Low-lit by slow-burning electric guitar, St. Louis’ bewitchingly deep voice is a commanding force on the track and on the entire record.

If There Only Was a River is St. Louis’ proper full-length debut, the follow-up to First Songs, a tape of songs she released last year on Woodsist/Mare Records (now available digitally, too). St. Louis’ warm, dusty acoustic renderings need no introduction, but her new record arrives with a few familiar names attached: Kevin Morby and King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas are producers, and Night Shop’s Justin Sullivan, along with Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill, are both featured on the album’s 11 tracks

St. Louis uses nostalgic strings and expertly positioned vocal phrases to draw the listener into her heady, mesmerizing world, full of wobbly melodies and intently stated folk koans that continue to unfold in your mind long after the song comes to a close. Sometimes the simplest things are the most important, and St. Louis wields that wisdom with the dexterity of an expert, even though she’s just starting out.

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Justin Sullivan has been performing as a touring drummer for over 20 years; he performed with Kevin Morby, both solo and as The Babies, as well as being a founder member of Marc Riley favourites, Flat Worms. In 2016, burnt out from life on the road hitting skins on other people’s songs, Justin decided to take a year out: it might just have been the best idea he ever had. The result is the aptly titled album, In The Break, Justin’s first record under his musical pseudonym, Night Shop.

Ahead of releasing In The Break next month, Night Shop has this week shared the newest taste of it, The Ship Has Sailed. Liberally borrowing his musical friends talents, the record features offerings from Meg Duffy, Anna St. Louis and Woods’ Jarvis Taveniere, Justin has created a sound entirely on his own terms. Sure, there’s certainly a touch of Kevin Morby in the vocal production, and that’s no bad thing, yet in the twanging-guitars and prominent percussive bass-line there’s enough to make this stand out from even the most distinguished of crowds.

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Time to put all your best drummer jokes to one side, and admire a talent stepping into the limelight with effortless aplomb.

In The Break is out September 14th via Woodsist / Mare Records.