Singer/songwriter Eliza Rosbach recently performed for an intimate crowd at BoBo Gallery, marking the beginning of a new female-dominated singer/songwriters gathering to be held on the first Wednesday of every month. These showcases will be hosted by Rosbach and will feature various guest artists. “Yay, female vocal musicians,” cheered Rosbach at the show. “If you have been to an open mic [recently] then you know we’re underrepresented.”
Opening the showcase with a song called “In the Absence of Chlorophyll,” a light-hearted love song for penguins, the agility of Rosbach’s voice was immediately striking. Her shy and gentle stage presence paired with commanding harmonies quickly established a cozy atmosphere. As she sang, a small crowd formed a semi-circle around the stage and listened with ease, pulling their eyes away only to sip on a glass of wine or beer.
Enchanting the gallery-turned-performance space with smooth acoustic guitar and homemade banjo, Rosbach’s Appalachian-folk music was delivered with eloquence and clarity. Her music has a singsong quality to it, moving fluidly from low to high vocal ranges. Because her articulation is so precise, it often felt as if Rosbach was reciting poetry, her sharp Southern inflection giving her lyrics a musical texture of their own.
Performing a number of songs from her album, Bloodroot Red, self-released last spring, Rosbach’s emotionally rich repertoire tugged on the heartstrings. “Can I play a sad song?” Rosbach asked the ever-growing crowd. “It is winter, by the way,” she added with a smile, before playing the song “Parallel” from her album. The song is an ode to the four seasons and explores the concept of lost love. “Our lives entwined in winter time/ Cold winds cast spells around us/ We breathe love warm around us … Parallel, parallel, I feel you walking parallel.”
Many of her songs, like “Fingers in the Ground” and her album’s title track, are laced with imagery that strives to find beauty in the mundane. Her sultry edge is reminiscent of Cat Power (more specifically “Sea of Love” and “The Greatest”) and her acoustic grace similar to Joni Mitchell (“Night Ride Home” and “Both Sides Now”).
Sharing the stage with Rosbach were local musicians Rorey Carroll and Jenny Greer (of Jen and the Juice) with Stefan Custodi, a recent Asheville-transplant, accompanying them on bass. Carroll’s rich songwriting and Greer’s ability to excite the crowd complemented the showcase. The evening’s format, where each artist took turns performing an acoustic single, felt rigid, and collaboration between the musicians was sorely missed. It will be interesting to see how this event transforms and changes in the coming months.
Learn more at www.myspace.com/elizarosbach.