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Rachel Ries - For You Only
[2005]
$15.00
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"The most seductively literary folk debut since Dar Williams."
-Tom Neff, Grassy Hill Radio

"Few artists have grabbed me the way Rachel Ries does. She reminds me of the first time I heard singers like Emmylou Harris, Aimee Mann & Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley... I immediately fell in love with her voice and songwriting"
-Michael Cameron, Uncommon Ground

"Music as pure and necessary as anything Alan Lomax ever found." -Greg Sorrell, gray.

Daughter of Mennonite missionaries, raised in Zaire and Freeman, S.D., Rachel Ries performs "Prairie Swing & City Folk". Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and viola, Ries marries sophisticated, vintage musicality to smart lyrics. Like Andrew Bird and Erin McKeown, Ries has developed an urban cult following based on a fresh approach to musical forms of the '20s and '30s. Recorded analog on vintage microphones, her vocals recall Billie Holiday and early Maria Muldaur, with a self-taught guitar style reminiscent of Mississippi John Hurt. Songs range from the romantic simplicity of jazz standards to the distilled intensity of poet Anne Sexton. Ries has an adventurous ear for melody and a voice flexible enough to accomplish it.Vocals, guitar, banjo: Rachel, Vocals, banjo, fiddle, guitar, Andru Bemis; piano, pump organ, accordion, Drew Lindsay; percussion: Mike Reeb

1. Lonely Spires
2. For You Only
3. Our Summertime
4. Luckiest One
5. Valentine, NE
6. Cleveland
7. October
8. Unkind
9. Sad Saturday
10. Summer Came, A Warning
11. We'll All Be The Same
12. 3 AM
13. And For This

reviewed inACOUSTIC GUITAR
From the first cascading melody line of ďLonely Spires,Ē Rachel Ries ensnares the listener in a gorgeous web of silvery vocals, homey fingerpicking and strumming, and literary lyrics wrapped in mercurial, yet soothing tunes. While her vintage sound is reminiscent of music from the 1920s and í30s, her approach to writing is altogether contemporary, imbuing folksy imagery with a compelling sense of mystery. In the lead track, ďLonely Spires,Ē for example, sandcastles are like castles in the air as love becomes the stuff of memory: ď . . . Meet you at the shores / We used to fill with silver stones and bones and tones of no remorse / And build our castles with their lonely spires high.Ē Her voice, though it may beg comparisons to early jazz and folksingers, playfully snakes around her melodies in a way few were doing back in the day. The result is a delightful mix of the offbeat and the familiar. Ries is a self-taught guitar player whose clean fingerpicking is bluesy but not slavishly so, in service only to the temper and flow of her songs. While other instruments like banjo, piano, or percussion do show up on For You Only, they take a farther-back-than-usual backseat to Ries, offering only subtle color, not bold statements. The album was recorded on vintage analog equipment, presumably to further capture a bygone sound. Some artists might need the boost in creating atmosphere, but Ries is well up to the task of invoking mood, memory, and nostalgia all on her own. -Judith Edelman

Rachel's song "Unkind" is on the player in its entirety. You need broadband to listen. I'm struck by the way this song captures the way our minds recast an experience in memory - it seems like one thing while you're going through it, and something else emerges later. -AC

UNKIND
by Rachel Ries

i know the best years of my life are ahead
you donít have to tell me again and again
the paintís peeling off of my sweet, smiling face
and someday soon all sweetness will be erased

i met you in Texas, i left you in Rome
i held your hand through an Irish storm
i know iíve been unkind to you
but i canít say this chapter is through

my youth, it keeps me cold

iíve married another and bore him a son
and now i run through the world trying to be made undone
i just want for someone to swallow me whole
and then iíll rise up and ride on a chariot

iím crazy, donít you know?
i fed the horses cardboard & coal
now iím saving up my soul
to barter later so i can get back home

i loved you in Texas, i hated you in Rome
i tried so hard to care in an Irish storm
i know iíll never be kind to you
so i best be going - you take care of you

This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 14 July, 2005.
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