Many candidates left to review, but only one spot left. I'll know it when I hear it. I reach for a Bluegrass record, but my other hand has it beat, and has already stuck the new CD by Noe Venable in the player, and it's all over. It's been too long, I think right away.
It's easy to get caught up in the song, in the production, or the business, the scene, the gear, the problems and solutions involved with music. Or even a music webzine. And then someone like Noe Venable starts to sing (that's wrong, for there Is no one like Noe Venable) and begins to fill the room with just her voice, and I remember. Right. It's about the magic, about the art, and about beauty.
Last time we reviewed Ms. Venable (I always want to call her venerable instead, her music invites the misnomer) she sounded like a young genius, now more like a truly remarkable woman, an artist the world cannot put to sleep.
Again, Todd Sickafoose is a marvel. Aside from recording many of the tracks, he played basses, keyboards, and programmed. (Drums, one gathers, but more than that, one imagines.) But other notable contributors need to be mentioned; certainly Dean Sharp, always a boon on drums and percussion. Alan Lin on violin and Justin Kantor are inextricably involved in the tapestry, and Adam Levy on guitars cameos on "Lion Dreams." One wonders if Sean Penn* heard the amazing song "Into The Wild," a question to be remembered when we interview the artist in an upcoming issue.
The world and its underpinnings that Noe Venable creates and inhabits in her songs are wondrous. She makes me want to move to San Francisco--but we find that the artist has recently moved to NYC, an excellent play. The idea of seeing her in an intimate setting like The Living Room or the Rockwood Music Hall is very exciting. And she will bring San Francisco to New York City in a way that few, if any, could at this time do.
The artist uses some elements of jazz in this record, but in a mystical, even medieval kind of way. Always painting, never grooving or riffing in more normal ways. Scapes of many shapes.
This is an outstanding work. Again Noe Venable shows herself to be one of the unique voices of our time, one to whom real attention need be paid. To quote a song from the record, "Say a prayer for beauty, like a ghost at the edge of the world..." An artist for these and all times.