Tag Archives: mary gauthier

Italy’s Roots Highway Sings Boister’s Praises

Written on February 16, 2015 at 12:09 PM, by

“A dark and earthy voice that makes Tom Waits sound like a sissy.” With those words the late, lamented Jim Dickinson described Anne Watts, the singer, composer, and de facto leader of Boister. And that old sharpie knew a little bit about music, even if such extravagant praise might appear biased, given that he was in the producer’s chair for Some Moths Drink the Tears of Elephants, the Baltimore octet’s previous release. Happily, all doubt is banished by the first notes of their 7th album, Your Wound Is Your Crown, a generous overflowing of harmonies, beats, and words, where the compositions leave the safe confines of the song form and open up into extended improvisations in a constant sonic whirlwind that is hard to categorize.
Nocturnal, smoky jazz rambles, unhinged Beefheartian blues struts, exotic overtures toward suasive oriental melodies, and intricate Canterburyan plots are all crowded into Boister’s bulimic scores, weaving a startling musical tapestry in which Watts’ voice, with her intense declamation, stands out, full of the pathos of Patti Smith at her most grandiloquent, as well as the grey tonality of a melancholic Mary Gauthier. There is no shortage of purely instrumental passages, where one becomes all the more aware of the importance of the free-form approach that is the foundation of the group’s musical economy, as in the opener Emmaline (Prelude), which actually is a calm prelude, in a phlegmatic, jazzy style, or in the Coltranian Martillo, where the role of the lion is entrusted to the horn section of John Dierker and Craig Considine. Elsewhere, one seems to be attending a reading by the aforesaid Smith, accompanied by Beefheart’s disciplined Magic Band, in the limping Crown, just as Gauthier’s vocals come to mind during the vigorous narrative development of Sycamore.
Conversely, in 14, Boister turns its attention to musical echoes of old England, especially those emanating from Soft Machine-era Canterbury, wedding psychedelia to jazz in an impetuous instrumental built out of counter-rhythms, stops and starts, and pindaric dialogues between horns, and then pays a visit to Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon, reworking the Bard’s lyrics from the Tempest into the keyboard litany of Yellow Sands, a breath of chamber music. The throbbing New Orleans syncopation of As the Ship Goes Down, with (again) more than one vocal nod to the above-mentioned Gauthier, is a worthy conclusion to an album that may not be easy listening, but rather requires alert and involved attention to grasp its many different layers. Possibly Boister’s music doesn’t actually “elevate or improve your life,” as Dickinson once claimed, but it can certainly provide you with moments of rare, imaginative fascination. Roots Highway, Italy

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Categories: anne watts, Baltimore, boisteralbum, Your Wound Is Your Crown
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Boister to Play Benefit for Baltimore Music Mecca An Die Musik

Written on March 1, 2012 at 9:28 PM, by

We’re coming out of the dark, en masse, to play a benefit for Baltimore’s musical treasure trove,

An Die Musik, on May 4th. Champagne, bonbons, and more musical trajectories than you can imagine.

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Categories: Lylekissack, Uncategorized, Your Wound Is Your Crown
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