Local Album Showcases
FoxFeather's Foul Moon Shines Bright
FoxFeather: Foul Moon
Boulder County is lucky to have so many great artists popping up as often as they have been over the last few years. It has been a wild season here. I love seeing so many artists finding an audience in the community. I too have become part of the audience for these folks. One group I especially love is the songwriting duet FoxFeather. Consisting of two lovely and dynamic women, this duet also has a full band they perform with regularly. As a duet with nothing more than two microphones and a guitar these ladies put out a lot of energy and regularly capture the attention of audiences all over the Front Range. Instead of recording a quiet and intimate collection, Carly Ricks Smith (vocalist) and Laura Paige Stratton (acoustic guitar player and vocalist) tear it the fuck up on this album with a full band behind them and a great producer at their side. The album is called “Foul Moon” and in six purposeful tunes these ladies have captured a really unique and appealing album that is energetic without being manic and feminine without being girly. It’s a very well recorded piece and the songwriting content is very respectable.
As a songwriter and recording artist I really appreciate a well-written song that is captured well. Ingredients such as acoustic guitar that might seem simple and straightforward to the layperson can actually be the toughest to nail down tonally in the studio. In the case of the acoustic guitar there are lots of resonances happening in the hollow body of the instrument. A listener might take them for granted but the player who holds the vibrating and humming piece of wood knows that there is a wide spectrum of frequencies that make up that rich and clear tone we all love. A microphone is like an ear that you hear an album through. Each time you place a microphone in a recording environment you are placing an ear for the consumer to listen through. If the “ear” isn’t in the right place to hear the sound waves coming from an instrument, the recording you will get wont sound true to the original performance. It’s a tough skill to master but it can really help capture the fullness of a tone.
I mention this technical bullshit because I think this microphone placement stuff is a concept that is well understood by co-producer Justin Roth. Carly sings with a very specific and wonderful vocal tone. Capturing its full tonal spectrum while keeping it from being covered up by frequencies from other instruments in the mix was a pretty tough gig. Mr. Roth settles her creamy tones comfortably in the center of the mix and lets all the other instruments play more of a supporting role. That’s some expertly done shit right there. It sounds amazing but that would be pointless if the songs weren’t worth capturing.
If pressed to define a genre for this collection of recordings (sometimes it feels like giving tasting notes) I guess I’d call it “Vintaged Sultry Americana”. I’d call it “vintaged” (which is not a real word) because of the many effects used on the album to simulate antique speakers and microphones but also because of Carly’s vocal technique which sounds like it is coming from a porthole to a smoky nightclub from the 20’s. It isn’t vintage because it isn’t old but it is vintaged because it has been infused with that flavor of sound.
It’s sexy. It’s original. These women have crafted something very special and instantly likeable on this album. A stand out track on this album is the very groovy whorehouse song “Mama Joe’s”, which features a great minor key shuffle and my wife Jessica on Accordion. Another tune that should compel you to purchase the collection is “Drawing a Blank”, which is a bouncy, upbeat and sort of dark piece. I loved this collection and I hope you’ll pick it up from them soon from foxfeathermusic.com.
Players on this collection: Patrick Coleman on Bass, Will Smith on drums, Greg Schochet on Electric guitar and mandolin, Justin Hoffenberg on fiddle, Jessica Eppler on Accordion, Justin Roth on organ, high string guitar and percusion.
You, reader, go buy this album. Obey.