From the second I heard Abigail Washburn’s Song of the Traveling Daughter (2005) I was inspired by her voice, her banjo-influenced music, and her old-fashioned style. I also fell for her story (seriously, please watch that), she just seemed like the real deal; I felt like I could hear her heart in her music. I was terribly disappointed to have missed her performance at Bloomington’s Lotus Festival last fall, but I knew it wouldn’t be the last I heard of her. Now, Washburn is finally back with a second solo release, City of Refuge.
City of Refuge is Washburn’s debut on Rounder Records and is quite a leap from the roots-y, back-home style of Song of the Traveling Daughter. There’s still plenty of banjo and echoes of Asian-influenced themes, and her soft, sultry country-esque voice is as pleasant to the ears as ever. She sounds kind of like a rural version of Norah Jones, in my opinion. Some of the tracks are dripping with traditional American-folk lore, some are a tad more modern, while others have a more solemn, introspective tone. However, no matter how varied the musical styles, each song leaves you standing still to take in Washburn’s talents as a skillful vocalist and songwriter. It seems she took a great step in collaborating with musician Kai Welch; they make a great songwriting and performance pair.
Check out the title track and two others from the album:
I’ve only had the pleasure of listening to short clips of the entire album here, but I can’t wait to buy my copy. This marks the first non-local album that I am excited about in 2011.
For more info about the album, check out this interview she did with Paste: Catching Up with Abigail Washburn