JILL ANDREWS WITH SPECIAL GUEST, MOSES ATWOOD
Sunday, December 2nd
8:30pm / doors at 8:00pm
Advance general admission: $15
At the door: $20
Table of 4 reserved seats: $75
It starts with the voice. Before you notice the words, before you detect the gently curling melodies tugging them along, this is what hits you first: It’s warm and rich and touched with a soft Southern twang, as likely to swing down into its earthy lower register as arch upwards into a hopeful trill; it’s steady and sure but flecked with a certain weary sadness that stops you dead, draws you near.
It’s beautiful. It knows something.
This voice is JILL ANDREWS, who’s been singing her whole life: as a little girl, as a camp counselor plucking out three chords on an acoustic guitar under swaying pine trees, as one-half of The Everybodyfields—and, since 2009, as an increasingly formidable singer/songwriter making her way on her own.
On her self-titled EP (2009) and her debut record (coming in early 2011), Andrews crafts beguiling, startlingly intimate songs that merge her voice with her effortless, classic-pop sensibility and keen eye for human drama—all the unspoken truths between lovers, devastating confessions whispered to friends, silent prayers offered up during the longest, loneliest nights. A smart, subtle tunesmith and a gently wise songwriter, Andrews’ songs shuffle in and settle down with little fanfare, then quietly go about the business of ripping your heart straight out of your chest.
A rock-solid frontwoman in sundresses and Frye boots, Andrews leads a full band on record and on stage, drawing in tender piano, shuffling drums and searing electric guitar to support her careful acoustic picking. Wherever she plays, she offers up a vision of herself as a singular, quickly-maturing artist with the power to cross lines of genre and geography, taste and time. She is a force—and a voice—to be reckoned with.
MOSES ATWOOD sets sail with sophomore effort, One Bright Boat
It’s been four years since singer/songwriter Moses Atwood (also known for his work with Johnson’s Crossroad and The Overflow Jug Band) released his self-titled debut. That was in 2008; suddenly last fall Atwood decided it was time to put together his new collection of songs, One Bright Boat. So he rounded up a group of musicians and headed to Waking Studio, the new digs of Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog) in Philadelphia. There, Atwood and company knocked out the nine tracks in a mere week. The songs, he says, were culled from the years since his first album. While some date back to when he lived in Maine, most were written in North Carolina over the last few years.
Atwood choose Waking Studio because he wanted to take his musicians (including Michael Libramento of Floating Action) out of their routines. And it was time: “I’d found so many ways of circumventing the actual making of the record that I was like, ‘book the dates, get the people and do it.’” A week is a push, but, Atwood says, “Limitations are a really valuable thing in any artistic process — how many limitations and how you impose them is the trick.”
One Bright Boat doesn’t sound pressured or hurried. It opens with rollicking piano, the easy jingle of tambourine and tasteful flourishes of guitar. Atwood’s voice is what colors in the picture, relaxed and rich, rising effortlessly in a warm baritone.
“I’m tired of being the sad man, tired of all the sad songs. I’m tired of living my life like I’ve done something wrong,” he imparts on the spirit-lifting, cloud-parting title track.
If Atwood’s first record paid homage to his troubadour heroes (Woody Guthrie, Utah Phillips), One Bright Boat is less road-weary and more refined as Atwood leaves the minstrel role for that of bandleader in the style of Van Morrison and Randy Newman.
Running like a current through the record is Atwood’s talent for telling a story in fleeting images and washes of sound. These aren’t ballads but modern song-sketches of places longed for and passed through, people met and parted with, time passing. There’s space on each track — an easy flow of tides and waltzes (“California”), of pedal steel accents and Atwood’s comfortable flannel-and-bourbon vocal polished with (on “At Last”) gospel and brass.
“In recording, I feel like you’re recreating or capturing a moment in time,” says Atwood. “With modern recording you’re at constant great risk of losing the value of the moment, losing the essence of what you’ve got going on. But if you go all for capturing the moment, you don’t have a record, you just have a live performance. There’s a balance that the best records achieve.”
For a young artist, Atwood comes admirably close to that balance. It’s an album that rings both fresh and familiar, of-a-time and timeless. With One Bright Boat, Atwood’s ship comes in.