I'm With Her album cover for
Album reviews
Artist:
I'm With Her
Album:
See You Around
Release year:
2018
Label:
Rounder Records
04 May 2018 / by Daniel Huegli (author)

The three-woman folk band captures your heart with their positive, peaceful and hardship-filled folk songs. Their beautiful, flawless harmonies cover your heart like a warm blanket and their lyrics are hot chocolate for your soul. The melodies are played tenderly yet with presence and are kept simple as well as folky. Percussion is left out in their formation but not variety. They play instruments such as the mandolin, banjo, violin and guitar that are a trademark for traditional folk music and they play them well. The members Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sarah Watkins are well accomplished musicians bringing knowledge from other bands they have played in; O’Donovan as well as Jarosz both were schooled in the New England Conservatory.

The first song of the album, “See You Around,” uses powerful similes telling the tale of a clear voice in a tough life situation where many things are falling apart “I hear you loud and clear … a constant ringing bell Or the ocean in a shell I held up to my ear.” They write songs in such a way that makes it effortless for the listener to shape characters in his or her mind and experience the strong emotions these are feeling. The songs are warm and peaceful, but also portray hardship and the desire to move on for example in “Overland”. This is a song with a classic folk storyline of a person with a hard life looking for a better one in San Francisco sung in desperation and hope. Another great example of a fascinating personality is found in “Pangaea” a slower song that let’s the listener see the world through the eyes of an old lonely fisherman.

Though I’m With Her primarily plays with acoustic instruments from traditional folk music they do not shy away from using more modern instruments. In “I-89” a unique atmosphere is formed with a distorted guitar playing a similar line that an electric bass would, together with a sustained guitar in the background and the fast picking of the banjo/mandolin. I’m With Her uses their instruments in a perfectly measured dosage and do not overpower one another. When playing they move as one balanced body and create a work of art every time. “Waitsfield” is a great example of this. The well-arranged instrumental also shows the band’s capability to touch the listener positively without using words.

The author

Daniel Huegli

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