Brooke Waggoner: Sweven (Album Review)

Brooke Waggoner just released her new album, Sweven. Brooke has gradually become one of my favorite artists after her beautiful debut, Go Easy Little Doves, and the exhilarating followup, Originator – not to mention her thrilling 2012 live performance at Mountain Stage. So Sweven was definitely my most anticipated album of the new year. I’m happy to say it exceeds even my high expectations of this singularly spectacular artist.

This glorious album somehow manages to marry old-fashioned player piano jauntiness with a futuristic, spatial – as in outer space as well as scope – flow. Think Scott Joplin meets David Bowie.

Even such lofty points of reference are tenuous comparisons at best. Brooke Waggoner’s music continues to be extraordinarily original. Even when you think you have her unique sound pegged down, she throws something even more unexpected into the mix.

Brooke’s deft, playfully beautiful touch on piano is especially distinctive and bewitching in “Proof,” the album’s title track and the exquisite instrumental “Egg Shells.”

The gorgeous song “Fellow” redefines the critically-overused adjective haunting.

“Cherry-Pick” is a spoken word poem set to music. The poem and melody are Brooke’s, but the voice is that of an elderly man. Said man is a geriatric patient of Brooke’s husband, his recitation was recorded by iPhone and his haggard voice is not dissimilar to that of William S. Burroughs.

Other tracks like “Widow Maker” and “Pennies & Youth” have a different kind of unusual juxtaposition, one of catchy pop and dark strings that is reminiscent of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

If Brooke Waggoner’s Sweven is not my #1 album of 2016, it’s gonna be a mind-blowing year for music. It already is.

Brooke will return to Mountain Stage on February 14th.

Download a free, legal EP comprised of 3 mp3s from the album and 2 alternative tracks at Noisetrade.

Buy @ Amazon

Brooke Waggoner Official Site

Dayna Kurtz: New Album & Video!

Dayna Kurtz will perform live at Mountain Stage on February 22nd and release her new album, Rise & Fall, on March 31st. To say I’m excited would be a vast understatement. Dayna likens the new song cycle to her exquisite debut, saying: “This album is the most like Postcards From Downtown in that it covers such a long span of collected original material. Rise and Fall covers these last few years of my life and they were pretty heavy years; My father died, my marriage ended. I moved to New Orleans. I had a couple years of wild oat-sowing and then found a grand new love. There’s been a lot to think about, to write about.”

Dayna Kurtz Official Site

Mountain Stage Live Webcast Now!

Those who couldn’t make it to tonight’s fabulous, soldout Mountain Stage concert can watch it live online for free right now at Mt Stage’s official site!

Kate Miller-Heidke’s magnificent set of vocal acrobatics is already over, but Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn and Janiva Magness will soon take the stage.

Music, Shakespeare, Books, Art & Nature at Festivall This Weekend!

West Virginians have an exciting weekend of arts-related events this weekend thanks to Charleston’s Festivall. We at Muruch will happily attend the following:

Friday, 7pm: Hamlet by The American Shakespeare Co.
The Scottish Rites Center, Capitol Street
Tickets: $20 adults, $15 seniors, $10 students.
Buy tickets in advance at Taylor Books or at the door

Friday & Saturday, 7:30pm: Romeo & Juliet by The Charleston Ballet
The Civic Center Little Theater
Tickets: Adults $20 in advance, $25 at door; students $15 in advance, $20 at door.Group rates also available.
Buy tickets online, Civic Ctr box office or at the door

Saturday, 8am-5pm: Library Used Book Sale
The Civic Center Little Theater
Free Admittance, books 50¢-$2

Sunday, 1-4pm: Nature Walk w/ Live Music & Art
Sunrise Carriage Trail

Sunday, 7pm: Kate Miller-Heidke, Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Janiva Magness & Storyman at Mountain Stage
Culture Center Theater
Tickets: $15 advance, $20 at the door
Buy tickets online, at Taylor Books or at door

Kate Miller-Heidke: O Vertigo!

Kate Miller-Heidke’s new album, O Vertigo!, features her signature combination of quirky avante-pop and astoundingly beautiful operatic flourishes with a heavier electro-beat undercurrent than her previous releases.

The opening track and first single, “Offer It Up,” uses an electro-gospel multi-tracked choir of Kate’s voice as both backing vocals and rhythmic embellishments. We premiered the song here last month and you can stream it and other tracks below.

“Yours was the Body” is a sultry, trippy breakup anthem. From there, the theme of lost love runs through the rest of the album.

The album’s title track is quintessentially Kate: all quirky, buoyant pop and operatic trills…actually toward the end of the song it sounds like Kate is trilling, running, scatting, yodeling and possibly meowing at the same time. Her vocal range and control is supernaturally unique.

Passenger pops up on the atmospheric duet “Share Your Air” and Megan Washington sparrs with Kate on “Ghost,” which is like an updated “The Boy is Mine.”

The catchy, crazy “Jimmy” is another standout, while “What Was I To You” gives into heartbreak.

The final ballad “Bliss” is delicate and absolutely exquisite.

Kate will return to Mountain Stage on Sunday, November 26th as part of Charleston’s Festivall.

Buy @ Amazon

Kate Miller-Heidke Official Site