The instrumentation on The Brightness is almost as impressive as Anaïs’ extraordinary voice and songwriting talent. Several tracks – such as “Your Fonder Heart” and “Old Fashioned Hat” – layer hauntingly sweet vocals and wistful lyrics with delicate strings and soft brass. “Shenandoah” and “Hobo’s Lullaby” have just the faintest bluegrass flavor due to a banjo being added to that orchestral blend. “Namesake” hums with slinky horns and refers to writer Anaïs Nin’s novel The Four-Chambered Heart.
The quiet piano in “Of A Friday Night”, the bare acoustics on “Song of The Magi”, and the dramatic tone of “Hades & Persephone” (from the play Hadestown) put the focus on the narrative poetry of Anaïs’ lyrics. Beyond her finespun and emotive voice, it is in those heartfelt and literate lyrics that the strength of Anaïs’ music lies. So I’ll let her words speak for themselves…
“full of them good time gamblers
full of their restless wives
full of them midnight writers
out in the quarter on a friday night
out in the brightness of a friday night
and the big horns blowed and the pianos played
and the music rose to the old man’s ears
I guess those were the olden days
I guess those were the golden years
and now the town is empty
empty as a mirror
empty as the harbor and the barber’s chair
where did the old poet go?
I asked around