Monday, August 15, 2011
Abby Posner -The Gatherer and the Thief EP
Ever since I began writing for The Ripple Effect I’ve come across a wide variety of music artists, some good and some shockingly good. However, the one negative aspect is receiving requests from friends of friends and boyfriend’s sisters’ cousins’ uncles twice removed making requests for me to listen to their demos and CDs. Well, maybe it hasn’t been that ridiculous, but it’s not too far off. I mean a lot of people have come out of the woodwork asking for my help.
Although I respect and encourage them asking me politely, I feel weird trying to remain objective. This is probably due to the fact I have a BA in Journalism and feel morally obligated to abstain since there is a conflict of interest. Still, it’s interesting the music I have come across through these requests. There were several solid demos including one heavy metal band, but they were mostly pressed on CD-R’s and not “officially released.” Although I do have a preference for physical albums I don’t hold anything against a band with submitting a digital album. In the past I actually received a small virus from a batch of digital albums sent my way for reviews. Although it slightly hindered my ability to review music, it didn’t stop me entirely, but it made me take an unexpected break.
Now that all is well I’m up to speed with listening and reviewing music. For the past couple of months I have gone through a ridiculously nostalgia streak listening to everything 1990s. Now it doesn’t seem that long ago, but it’s hard to believe that decade was 20 years ago. Recently I saw the movies Reality Bites, Singles and Clueless on TV and it reminded me of an artist I was turned onto recently.
Whenever a friend comes to me and says they have found “an awesome music artist I need to listen to” I’m usually not too surprised, but that changed earlier this year. During springtime one of my high school friends contacted me about a musician I should write about. Now I explained to him the policy of The Ripple and said, “I would give it an honest listen and if I like it then I shall write about her music.” Sure enough I’m doing that now. Whenever someone recommends a music artist from a genre of music they aren’t particularly fond of I know I’m in for a real treat. Instantly I become intrigued and almost always I seem to really like the artist(s) suggested.
Singer-songwriter Abby Posner recently released her first EP The Gatherer and the Thief in Spring 2011 and is currently working on her full-length studio album tentatively titled For You, The Spring. One of the things I absolutely adore about Abby Posner is her musical versatility. Whether it’s the musical instruments being used or her vocal technique, she echoes back to the late 1980s and early 1990s of classic female songwriters such as Liz Phair, Lisa Loeb and Sarah McLaughlin. Even at times I feel like I’m listening to a young Jewel, Fiona Apple and Tori Amos.
It’s abundantly obvious Posner personifies what it means to appreciate world music using a diverse amount of instrumentation. At times, Posner sounds like the female version of Paul Simon during the Graceland period. The use of percussion in “Time to Go” is a good example.
Besides performing as a solo artist, Posner is involved in several side project bands including bluegrass-rock band Fearmia, rock band The Paper Tigers, the experimental jazz duo East Coast and the instrumental folk duo Bucket and String. Posner plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, drums, and didgeridoo, amongst other things. Talk about practically being a one person-band! Abby Posner can do it all.
The Gatherer and the Thief starts off with “Moon,” which highlights Posner’s sultry, smooth voice accompanied by unconventional instruments. Anyone who can use an accordion (not named Weird Al) to make a song splendid is cool in my book.
“Shame” is arguably my favorite song of this delightful debut EP from versatile visionary Abby Posner. The simplistic strumming of an acoustic guitar alongside Posner’s voice creates an incredible song you become mesmerized from beginning to end. The song continues to build and around the 1:57 mark the song just takes off with great background vocals. A must listen!
“Darkest Winter” starts off with a banjo and is a nice crossover bluegrass rock song that is the perfect remedy for an enjoyable, relaxing song. “The Bees” starts off in a similar fashion and stings you with plenty of emotions before involving into a more experimental jazz composition. Posner’s voice is a perfect match with an acoustic guitar.
“Time To Go” and “Sweet Love” are also true delights. This entire EP was a pleasant surprise well worth the wait. Abby Posner is practically a one woman band and I love anyone who is able to sing, write and play anything. There is just something about her folk/indie sound that captivates me. There are times where she seems to capture the essence of Alanis Morissette, the simplistic writing styles of Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and the attitude of Fiona Apple to create a charming, creative indie sound all her own.