Monday, September 04, 2006

Easin' back to the work week: Brooklyn Dreaming


Well, back to work after a long weekend here in the U.S.

Labor day is the unofficial end of the summer vacation season and a reminder that fall and winter are fast approaching. I'm having some trouble getting motivated to get back to the daily grind and figured I wasn't alone in those feelings. Let's ease ourselves back to our cubicle existence with something to conjure up more pleasant surroundings.

At first listen I thought it somehow odd that a band from Brooklyn, New York could create such beautiful, peaceful music. Hem is a Brooklyn-based combo of; Sally Ellyson (vocals), Dan Messe (piano, accordion, celeste, glockenspiel), Gary Maurer (guitar, mandolin), and Steve Curtis (guitar, mandolin, banjo, back-up vocals) who make up the core of the band. The current recording/touring band also includes Mark Brotter (Drums, Percussion), Bob Hoffnar (Pedal Steel Guitar, Dobro), George Rush (Bass), Heather Zimmerman (Violin), and Dawn Landes (Harmony Vocals, Glockenspiel).

Light and soothing, their music is a "Countrypolitan" mix that borrows from many genres, and masterfully crafts them into dreamy, peaceful orchestrations. Sally Ellyson's vocals float so easy on the ears throughout each cut, ranging from soft and lilting to powerful and always full of emotion. The soft, pleasing sounds of their new CD Funnel Cloud entice vivid images of peaceful plains and serene streamside. The arrangements are soft and easy on first listen, but with each play I find the music much more complex and well crafted. The CD's most pop-leaning cut is "Not California," a compelling tale of displaced lovers that was featured earlier this year on NPR's All Songs Considered. "The Pills Stopped Working" is a rollicking Honky Tonk tune that would be right at home on the juke box in any bar. On the title cut, "Funnel Cloud", Sally Ellyson describes a beautiful, pastoral scene just before a tornado hits. Her beautiful voice paints a clear picture in one's mind. "Old Adam" features some fine, bluesy slide guitar and wonderful harmonies. All told, a very peaceful, rewarding CD for those times when one needs to slip out of the drudgery of the work-a-day world.

Perhaps it's not so strange that a band from Brooklyn, New York would create such beautiful, flowing music after all.


Hem - "He Came to Meet Me"

Streaming Windows Media

Streaming Real Audio



Hem - "Not California"

Streaming Windows Media

Streaming Real Audio


Hem's new CD, Funnel Cloud will be available in better record stores today, Sept. 5th. Or buy it on-line here.

4 Comments:

Blogger Kat said...

Thanks for the introduction. It is, as you said, both beautiful and peaceful.

September 05, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 05, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

September 05, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I'm glad you enjoyed, Kat.

September 06, 2006 8:39 AM  

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