The story of Br’er Rabbit has been rewritten. Instead of a racially insensitive folk tale set in the Deep South, it is a story of growing up in the Pacific Northwest;three kids running through the woods and around their small city like they owned the place, knowing little of each other’s existence. The two boys were brothers, they grew up and moved to New York City to make their fortune, and refine their sound. There, on the east coast, thousands of miles from that small city, they meet Miranda, whose path had crossed theirs innumerable times, but now was the time that they were destined to meet. They refined their sound, something like a forest with a skyline. They took on a final member. They picked up all kinds of stringed instruments and rhythm instruments. They stomped their feet and clapped their hands, a beautiful thing was born.
I’ve listened to “Salt Flats” about eight times in a row now. Partially because the children who I nanny will not go to sleep (yes, I write during nap time)and I have to keep leaving to check on them, and partially because it is just so wonderful. The lyrics are nostalgic, I love when songs bring back memories that I don’t even have. This song is about growing up, finding meaning, being present, stories intersecting. The voices are choral, organic. They blend beautifully, but individually, they do not sound like they should. Each voice is so unique and different that you think they would be combative, but no, just beautiful.
“Open Up” begins with choral harmonies. A gorgeous, hymn-like verse, voices melt together so perfectly then dissolve into soft percussion and a simple song about love and loss. The lyrics are poetic. “Here it goes. Here it is. When it comes down to it, we all want to live. In our homes. In our beds. With a love on which we can rest our heads and our hearts.” This song is cinnamon pancakes on a sunday morning, drizzled with honey and topped with strawberries.
“Distant lands” has a sweet melancholy to it. The voices trade off and mingle. Male, choral, female, harmonies. They tell stories of getting lost, travel, coming home, and fulfilling the dream of finding someone to sit next to on every journey. The bridge proclaims that “we found love!” I have to sit down to write right now, but this song will fuel many dancing-around-the-apartment sessions in the future, and much, much dance-infused dishwashing. All of the songs on this album are catchy, upbeat, and vibrant.
Imagine the dusty scenes of the Oregon Trail, trudging across the plains of Kansas, following cattle up the mountains of Colorado. Weary legs, cold nights, skin that is so tough and tanned that it no longer gets sunburnt, missing home but excited for a new beginning. That feeling is the sound of “Burn the Wide Forest”. The percussion is dominant, but not overbearing. It feels old but not outdated. The voices are timeless and beautiful. This song takes me to my grandfather’s cabin in the mountains of northern Idaho. Seeing my breath in the summer, watching the sun rise over the hemlocks, climbing through the rocky forest, checking fell logs for edible mushrooms. “Oh, won’t you stay.”
If you like dancing, forest landscapes, adventures, Colorado, the PNW, harmonious vocals, love stories, early mornings, late nights, local produce, or strong coffee, you will love Br’er Rabbit. Please stop by their website and enjoy their album. This is art and entertainment in a beautiful form. The entire album is just flawless and I want everyone to enjoy it.