We begin this week’s Listening Party with the work of Miriam Allen, an acoustic performer with an impressive stylistic range. She turns in lament-filled bluegrass-tinged country on songs like “The Mountains of Mendoza,” and flirts with a number of Spanish folk styles on tracks like “La Despedida” and “Clandestino.” But, it’s the klezmer-meets-bal-musette sound of “Leybedik” that really showcases Allen’s talents. That said, we recommend starting your Miriam Allen experience with “The Mountains of Mendoza,” which is a little easier for a mountain-music friendly crowd to get into.
Next up is Hendersonville-based pop-oriented country singer Ryan Whitted. Many of his songs, such as “Let It All Go,” seem to be geared towards the commerical country market. To his credit, however, Whitted tries to vary his material. Songs like “Suffering Fools” give nods to bar blues, while “Rainy Day in Eden” has a slightly more rock-oriented feel to it. We recommend starting with “High On A Mountain,” which is well-served by its simple instrumentation and strong lyrics.
Closing out this week, we have Bandazian, a suggeston from our Listening Party thread on the Xpress forums. And … wow! This four-piece outfit of indie rockers know how to put a catchy song together. (They’re really that good, and as one of our forum posters wrote, “Kinda makes you wonder: if these guys were from Brooklyn instead of Asheville, would they be all over Pitchfork and Spin already?”) Although all of their tracks are worth a listen, we suggest starting with the outstandingly together, hard-to-forget song “So Tired,” which you can find on the group’s MySpace page.
Now, it’s your turn. Tell us your thoughts on these performers by posting into the comment fields below. This is your chance to be the music reviewer, so praise and pan as you see fit.
Also, if you’d like to suggest a band for Listening Party, or have questions about the column, visit this thread on our Mountainx.com forums.
— Steve Shanafelt, A&E editor