She Keeps Bees - Kinship - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

She Keeps Bees - Kinship

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-05-10
She Keeps Bees - Kinship
She Keeps Bees - Kinship

Ghosts could slow dance to this beautiful music. It's folk music that touches the haunted dirt of the past. It evokes lost memories and equal moments of urgent recall that bop up and down in some river of musical psychology.

Not only that, but this is a lovely and often solemn folk record.

A few stern guitar notes frame Jessica Larrabee’s extremely dust to dust voice in the brief opening song, “Hawk.” Then, “Coyote” doubles the bet with Andy LaPlant’s heartbeat percussion while an eerie violin complements the spooky vocal. This is not folk music for handholding around a campfire sing-a-long; rather, it’s music to sing into the darkness of any unknown night, with a dimly lit solitude that beckons kinship with all those slowly dancing ghosts. This is a stunning performance.

“Dominance” is a simple-piano based song that pleads for humility. A bit of an electric guitar echoes the subdued work of Robbie Robertson on the early Band albums. The drums punctuate the passion. A violin hovers over the song. And, once again, Jessica’s vocals sing like a lost soul pleading its smoke-fired wisdom.

It's a favorite quote I’ve used in other reviews, but The Talking Heads’ David Byrne sang in “Life During Wartime,” “This ain’t no party/this ain’t no disco/This ain’t no fooling around.”

And trust me, this music isn’t a party; it isn’t any disco, and there’s no fooling around in the straight flush of this Americana poker hand dust to dust music.

But for sure, lovers of Australian Kasey Chambers (in her introspective moments) or national treasure Lucinda Williams will find a lot of love here.

Oh, the title track, “Kinship” is an upbeat drum heavy slow stomp of a prayer that sings its soul to the heavens. It’s mesmerizing, as it touches the past, but speaks in the present tense. It’s always nice to hear from ancient sagacity.

The album is filled with slow sepia sounds, sepia sounds that demand patience and compassion. “Breaking Weight” is bluesy, with a deep piano, while a violin and a few electronic sounds orbit the melody. This is the music of tough specters. “Queen of Cups” is acoustic, quite alone, almost silent, and it contains an absolutely sublime melody. Time touches its own tail in the tune. “Longing” is filled with dark river sounds. This song flows with gentle piano notes and the pulse of the human heart. “First Quarter Moon” stretches the passion into the tightrope that is, one way or another, “ninety degrees from the moon.”

I once read a sign in a bar that said, It’s five ‘o’clock somewhere in the world.

Well, it’s also true to say, It’s ninety degrees from the moon somewhere in the world.

There’s quite a bit of universal truth on this record.

And the beautiful “Ocean” sings that universal truth. Again, acoustic sounds and soulful voice reign supreme in a song that is a clarion call to common sense, humanity, and that dust to dust wisdom.

The ending “Sea Ice” is slow, eerie, percussion perfect, dramatically voiced, and immensely quiet in its final and very artful sepia punctuation point.

So, there’s no party, disco, or fooling around. And there’s no Kumbaya sentient. This folky campfire music simply ponders the beauty of the deep darkness of the forest, a forest that sings to the ancient stuff that always lingers, even today, like uncorked whiskey from the past, a whiskey that still manages to taste with a warm melody worthy of a 190 proof groove, and a groove brewed by ghosts who will always slowly dance to this sort of eerie and beautiful music. 

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