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Voices From The Underground by Marisa Yeaman
Review of Marisa Yeaman's new album Voices From The Underground
By Susan Frances
(more articles from this author)
2011-06-05
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Natural sounding is a priority for singer-songwriter Marisa Yeaman whose new CD Voices From The Underground, her third release from Deep Pearl Records, is a splash of fresh air in a world where synthesized loops and dancehall grooves dominant the airwaves. Yeaman's album is a reprieve from the rotation of club-driven tracks and is a welcoming guest to the party. She brings a fare of porch folk that the likes of G. Love and Tom Waits can take their hats off to.

Parlaying an array of acoustic and electric guitars and keys along with a slide guitar and drums into a country folk batter that audiences from opposite ends of the earth can enjoy is an ambitious feat in itself. Yeaman's hearth-imbued tunes resound with the natural fluctuations of the body's movements while traversing over rolling hills and across rustic pastures. In essence, her melodies can be summed up as traveling songs, music that sets one on a course to go somewhere.

The ambient tones of "Warm Night in Austin" infuse a lullaby-inspired rambling while the upbeat tempo of "Sharon" stokes the guitar's volume as Yeaman's ruminates, "Each day starts to look the same / so Sharon is still watching she's swimming against the system / does anybody see her there?" The wispy embers of "Montmartre Tonight" contour Yeaman's vocals as she describes, "They sang at the top of their voices / they talked of the world and its art / they drank absent in the shadows / and cheap red wine in the light / the spark that burns in all the gaslights / there's cerulean blue on the sky / and their spirits dance in the alleys of the streets of Montmartre tonight." The alternating intervals between the slide guitar and acoustic guitars along "Nightingale" are sonically exciting, and the ribbons of soft moans in the guitar chords along "Love Will Keep Me Warm" induces the melody with sensations of serenity.

Voices From The Underground is preceded by Yeaman's 2008 recording Roadmap Heart and her 2005 debut Pure Motive. It is undeniable that all three albums stem from Yeaman's affinity for roots music making them sound very similar by comparison. Perhaps more accurately is that the albums are an extension of one another like the chapters in a novel. Yeaman does not attempt to reinvent herself. She is content the way she is, but that does not prevent her from developing further in her music. Her albums trace her steps as she grows. It's not the end result that Yeaman immortalizes in her songs but the journey of making it there.


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