Artist: Black Prairie
Album: Feast of the Hunter's Moon
Label: Sugar Hill
Genre: Folk, indie
Comments: From NPR :
"Listening to Black Prairie's debut, Feast of the Hunter's Moon, is like walking onto the set of an HBO show about fear, longing, betrayal and loneliness — think Deadwood, or maybe Six Feet Under. The music created by this Portland, Ore.-based quintet sounds as if it comes from a different time and place. According to dobroist Chris Funk, that's the point; he says the sound Black Prairie makes "bridges the music of Clarence White and Ennio Morricone." In other words, it's a sound which defies any kind of genre characterization.
The musicians themselves do, too. The quintet was started by two members of The Decemberists: guitarist Chris Funk and bassist Nate Query. They decided to start a primarily instrumental string band as a way to present music that didn't really work with The Decemberists' sound. They asked another Decemberist, Jenny Conlee, to play accordion, and invited Portland musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld (Dolorean) to add their talents as violinist/vocalist and guitarist, respectively.
Black Prairie's songs consist mostly of instrumentals, and their arrangements pull from bluegrass and old-time string-band traditions. But Black Prairie adds its own twist, mixing accordion and violin to mimic Eastern European sounds, while also incorporating Tornfelt's vocals on a few selections."
Most of the tracks are instrumental, but I most enjoyed the ones featuring Conlee's vocals-- check out the radio edit of "Red Rocking Guitar."