Thursday, January 22, 1998

Review - Springtime

Artist: Freakwater

Posted on Thu, Jan 22, 1998 at 4:00 AM

Springtime
Label: Thrill Jockey
Media: CD
Format: Album
WorkNameSort: Springtime

The concept of folk music being written by an individual or band strikes me as somewhat contradictory. By my estimation, a folk song is perpetually a work in progress, passing from musician to musician with an emphasis on interpretation. Nonetheless, Louisville, Ky's Freakwater continues to reach deep into the stereotypes of country-folk and uncover some quite unique gems on their fifth release. Working within traditional confines -- the band's instruments seem to be limited to acoustic and stringed -- "Springtime" contains plenty of sweet harmonies (led by the rich vocals of Catherine Anne Irwin), heartache and redemption, subtle playing, and several other hallmarks of classic country.

It might be easy to tune out the overall effect of this disc, but a concentrated listen to songs like "Washed In the Blood" and "Louisville Lip" will yield some real poetry, both lyrical and musical. Freakwater is doing something unique in its faithful adherence to tradition. While peers tromp around lifting elements from here and there, trying to create their own little niche, Freakwater is content to stay put and improve on what they've got.

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