I kicked off the night with a set of originals, mostly new tunes, which always feels good. There were badass lights and the sound was AWESOME. Kudos, soundman. If you play at Cafe Nine, you will HEAR YOURSELF. I recommend it. I also enjoyed a Sea Hag, from New England Brewing Company. Solid IPA. Rock on.
Next up was a duo called Belle Of The Fall, which was fronted my Julia Autumn Ford on guitar and lead vocals. And holy shit, the only way I can describe her voice to you is if fairies and cotton candy lived in a fishbowl together. Her voice was the perfect amount of syrupy sweet softness blended with PERFECT control. Tracy Walton was on upright bass, which was totally awesome. They performed mostly Julia's original tunes, my favorite of the bunch being "Diamonds In The Rough." The duo also covered, "Evangeline," which melted my heart. Buy Julia's album here. Check out Belle Of The Fall here.
The album begins with strumming in 3/4 and Ponybird's beautiful howling voice, "You were not in your room when I needed you," and so I close my eyes to take in the story. The songs is called "In The Threads." The tune tells a story of devotion. Holy shit, there are so many beautiful, poetic lyrics in this tune, it's so hard to pick which resonates with me the most. Throughout all of the songs on the album, PB spins poetic, beautiful lyrics and often times speaks simply and bluntly as well. And I think as she sings "I wait for you," at the end of the song, she ties a ribbon around the story and leaves the listening feeling like they can safely continue on the journey that is "Modest Quarters."
Next is "Love & Wanted," which tells the story of a lover's promise to be there and stay true using the metaphor of a commit. The track utilizes very sparse guitar, cool weird noises, something that sounds like strings and very very subtle percussion to give the illusion that the listener is on an intergalactic journey, traveling through space. PB sings, "I am like a commit in the sky, shining bright for you. Go outside and look for my tonight, I will keep me word." Beautiful.
"Infamously" is one of my favorite tracks on the album. In my mind, this is the story of facade and the misleading bright lights of entertainment industry success. She also paints a picture of an abusive relationship. She sings "Infamously, only room for the vain ones." As she sings "Only room, only room...." at the end of the song, I get fucking chills. The sax action happening throughout the track is wonderfully executed. Sexy.
Next is "Start Of It," which took me by surprise. As soon as the pedal steel came in, I found myself squealing with glee. An old school country love song with awesome lyrics, guest vocals from a mystery man (I will go look at the album liner notes and post in the comments who it is!) pedal steel but only HINTS of twang in the vocal. This song reminds me so much of Conor Oberst's transition to more of an Americana feel in his solo project and how its the same, signature, warbling vocals but with beautiful, country tinged, instrumentation. This is a beautifully written tune. She sings "I'll always be the place where you can land." Throughout the album, I grow more and more impressed with how Ponybird can't really be describes as any one type of genre, and truly gives us a little bit of everything.
"Tender Trap" comes next, which begins with a really cool surfy sounding guitar. PB tells the story of what would seem to be an affair. She expresses a sense of vulnerability, self-awareness and honestly.
"Let Something Fall Apart" follows. I really like this tune because it showcases all of the reasons I fell in love with Ponybird's music in the first place; her howling vocals, her genre defining sound, her POETRY and her ability to put together an all around get track, in studio and live. This track has incredible, Neil Young-esque backing vocals, a really cool 70's sounding rock guitar and a little twinge of country.
"Thief" follows, which immediately brought me int a trance with it's minor-ness and creeping scraping steel noises in the back. Then, out of nowhere, the chorus comes around with a beautiful major chord and I am suddenly brought back to Earth. This is a ballad of heartbreak. As she sings, "I was the wire...come back to me," my heart breaks and crumbles into little fucking pieces on the floor. Conviction.
The album ends with a tune called "Favorite Season," which I think perfectly captures the real sides of love; the uncertainty, the bittersweet acknowledgment of reality and heartbreak. The magical thing about this song is it initially starts very paired down, which took me aback, as the majority of this record is jam packed with awesomeness, but after a few seconds of just guitar, vocal and shaker, more and more madness occurs. Wailing screaming backing vocals, horns, strings and mystery noises until a giant waterfall of sund cascades into the speakers and then...Poof. Fin.
Ponybird's live performance as well as her studio album, showcase a performer who puts it all on the table 100%, writes brilliant, beautiful lyrics and really can't be defined to one genre. Love you Ponybird. <3
So yeah, shit has been crazy. The merch has been ordered for the album release on 9/13, which you can grab tickets to here. If you haven't pre-ordered the 7" vinyl yet, click right here. And on an awesome note, the 7" was reviewed by Blues Bunny. Click here to read it! Finally, grab Ponybird's album, here. You won't regret it!