Listening Party: Miriam Allen, Ryan Whitted and Bandazian

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

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3 thoughts on “Listening Party: Miriam Allen, Ryan Whitted and Bandazian

  1. good line-up this week steve. i already knew bandazian was strong from their talent win at the orange peel awhile ago and playing with them at the grey eagle.

    looking forward to listening to these other two artists a little more before i make the final review.

  2. Miriam was pretty good
    Ryan has a myriad of songs worthy of the name of his upcoming debut album, Eclectica.
    Bandazian was not my cup of tea.

  3. Now for a listen to Miriam Allen….. listening to the randomly launched “Pablito”…. imagining seeing this at the Lobster Trap…as her events to play section advertised. Very romantic and pretty singing! I like this kind of circus-y latin vibe… whoaaaa suddenly it’s in English and about tequila! Very nice…..

    and now, a track from Ryan Whitted…. first up was “Suffering Fools”…. he’s got a little organ trio backing him up and a skunky little Fender-y sounding soloist…. the vocal seems to draw a lot from the Trace Adkins growly parts…. overall I like this stuff. Since he’s mentioning his “eclectic” thing in his album title….I’m giving it another track….”High on a Mountain”. Here’s the minor chord acoustic guitar… the more plaintive, pretty vocal…. Okay! I really respect other artists who are not afraid to try to deliver the real thing on a song without a whole lot of musical trickery. I’m feeling you on this one, Ryan. Maybe I’ll get to sit in with you on guitar someday. “High on a Mountain” made me want to strap on my Les Paul and just push it out.

    For Bandazian, I’m taking Steve’s suggestion on the myspace track “So Tired”. Here we have some tightly produced, modern sounding power-pop. I can definitely see myself having fun at a Bandazian show, listening to this. It’s very straightforward, very angular, very cathartic, rock music….but it doesn’t seem very angry or angsty or overly pretty to me….it’s gritty and smooth.

    So I think this is a three-for-three…..
    My review fades out into a shimmery guitar note of “Counting all the hours”……………..

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