Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Odd but appealing psych folk from Devandra Barnhart

I have another library pick for you today. “Cripple Crow” by Devandra Banhart. The cover art drew me immediately and I have to say it sounded a little like what I expected, only weirder. In fact, when I looked up Banhart for my post today, articles I read described his style as psych folk, avant-folk, freak folk, free associative work, and even New Weird America. I hear elements of Donovan, Bob Dylan, Nick Drake and Dr. John, but Barnhart is stranger than any of them. Yes, even Donovan. Still, he has great instincts and the fearlessness with which he explores his ideas and grooves means he hits on some really great music.

Wait, the woman in front had her eyes closed. Keep smiling. We have to take the photo again. Hold still... ah, forget it.

On the other hand, that same fearlessness leads Barnhart so far down the rabbit hole that sometimes he loses me completely. I listened to all 22 songs on “Cripple Crow” and only liked 3 or 4 of them. Now, 3 of them I really liked a lot and they inspired me to pick up other releases. The bottom line is I find Barnhart to be a guy from whose albums you want to cherry pick. Give these 3 a listen and you may be interested enough to delve some more. I was.

  • Long Haired Child – Banhart’s vocals remind me of Dr. John, for you old school folks out there. In fact, the fuzzy electric guitar, and self-examining lyrics all feel like throwback material. The last minute of the song changes significantly from 60s psych folk to just a pretty, timeless ballad.
  • Lazy Butterfly – I still like this song more every time I hear it. The melody is dreamy and it is made even more so by the tabla percussion, sitar, and other atmospheric instrumentation.
  • I Feel Just Like a Child – This track is so much fun. The vibe and the lyrics are irresistible. You can get a good feel for Barnhart’s goofy side from this video.

Banhart was born in Houston, was raised in Argentina, and moved to California as a teenager. His work is mostly acoustic and often mellow, but he still pulls from a variety of musical traditions for his sound. He has put out 7 albums and numerous EPs and collaborations. There is a great volume and variety of music to choose from and I’m looking forward to exploring it.

http://devendrabanhart.com/

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December 14, 2010 - Posted by | Folk, Indie

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