I’ve taken to calling
& Terri Dittmar, the
heart and soul of annabella; Mod
Folk. While the classification defines a sub-genre, I fully mean the
that they themselves are Mod Folk.
Green & Silver, their 3rd
release, is a beautiful,
gorgeous testament to a life growth that allows for an experienced,
distinguished, and graceful aging.
age/grow, they have, embracing what brought them here. Everything they
from their beginnings is present and expanded upon. 2005’s
sparse, harrowing Songs of Goodbye, which featured mostly the
husband & wife duo
and 2008’s Say
Goodnight where they
welcomed more friends/musicians to sit in and participate in a vision
quite perfectly aligns with Joni Mitchell in that the emotional
the words, voice and musical arrangements are an accomplishment that is
delightful in its execution.
Adding guitarist Andy Bracht as the 3rd
member, as well as sprinkling in Joshua Zarbo on bass, Evan Kasper on
steel and a few cello, violin, and viola players to that of veteran
Meason Whiley, makes the growth of Tim’s drums and guitar,
and Terri’s vocals,
fender rhodes, and flute as distinguished and graceful as the legends
modern folk (in which I’m pointing to the mid 60s to early
70s era). The
success of modern folk (and annabella)
comes from exploring the area that all music compositions aspire to:
perfect complexity that speaks between the lines, in-between the notes
are taken into its spell. Captivating - where the words must be heard,
Tim and Terri have constructed a unique tale of exploration,
a tale of feelings built around Terri’s vocals, which on
another level can
be described as a blend of Neko Case, Cat Power, and Beth Orton poured
out of a
young Linda Ronstadt – but a few pitches higher. The
additional musicians allow
the now trio annabella to move more toward chamber
pop to fully compliment
Terri’s Motown-Torch approach.
Around opens the
album with an overwrought, earthy funk that goes big with strings which
deliver the soul-sister vocals that carry us through a film noir,
presentation of heartbreak. The mic-ing of Terri’s vocals in Just
Like It Always Was
is an incredible extension of emotional ache after the feel-good double
harmonies of Holiday – a (dis)joyful
celebration of time traditionally
set aside for love and oneself – “I
know what I thought I was thinking/Oh, I need a holiday/Some time
need to sit in the sun/And find my (holiday) peace of mind,”
- and the much
appreciated (sit-in the) sunny, carefree afternoon by Gold
Miner’s Creek, where
Terri’s Joni Mitchell tempered Janis Joplin vocals are poured
over a luscious,
grand and glorious string arrangement to match the feelings of the
and silver clouded fresh air.
Thus setting up the pivotal Again
Comes Monday, a
Wilco meets Motown within an amazing mix, which gives us the Phil
of Sound” without the wall, allowing the focus to once again
fall on Terri’s
heavenly vocals. These songs are fleshed out to perfection, and the
Fleetwood Mac/Christie McVie, movie-style dream sequence of the title
acknowledges annabella’s distinguished growth
(“Change must’ve happened”),
and solidifies their graceful aging (“It’s
the changing of time”).
We are then carried leisurely over the bridge from
Green to Silver with a country ballad of slowed down Motown (City Signs), a Talking
warped crawl (Sea Stars), and a bare-bones treatment (Faders), all showcasing
Terri’s unbelievably gorgeous
vocal work, which has shifted the heartache to heartfelt graciousness.
opening track’s “I
around/cause you let me down,” to the
lp’s closing track, Soft
“I can just
tell with you
in the winter
build a fire and build til the fire makes us warm”
From the greenness of annabella’s Mod Folk,
comes the silverness of annabella’s Chamber Pop.
& Terri Dittmar, mod folk indeed.
- Green & Silver
is available now for: $9.98 + s/h*
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