Biscuits, Triscuits…

Paz Lenchantin “Songs for Luci”
June 30, 2009, 7:50 pm
Filed under: music and musings

I emailed Black Tent Press for some music. This album is amazing and I highly recommend it. Paz Lenchantin has guest appeared on many albums by some pretty big bands and now has her own band that she plays with. This however is solo.

Paz Lenchantin

Songs For Luci

Black Tent Press

Paz Lenchantin recorded this album through the sounds of 17-year cicadas in a rented room in Louisville, Kentucky after driving her newly deceased brother’s truck from California. The songs carry a weight to them that is completely beautiful whether or not you know the background to the writing of this album, but it’s more intimate, I feel, when you do.

With a borrowed mic and drum kit, Lenchantin laid down the violin, banjo and drum tracks to this gorgeously orchestrated album on her own. This is my first introduction to Paz Lenchantin and these seven songs evoke so much emotion with mostly just strings and plucky banjo notes. Her vocals are echoed and distant with sparse but telling lyrics. She opens the album with “Montana Train,” which enters with a staccato violin melody battling a more legato layer of strings. Lenchantin’s vocals come in as a light and airy “ooh” and as the strings come together in a bright harmony, they sound like a chugging train. Most of Lenchantin’s tunes create a descriptive image of what the song is about or trying to sound like.

I listened to this album for the first time riding on a crowded bus from New York to Delaware and as the sun was going down, there was still one blue gaping hole in the sky with glowing white clowds outlining it before the rest of the sky faded to gray.  Songs For Luci is perfect for scenic travel, for changing places and moving through time as Lenchantin was clearly experiencing a huge change when this album was written. Lenchantin’s vocals can be muffled and gentle or they can bend elegantly like tall blades of grass. Her voice blends and waves with the sweet sweaty humid feeling of “Kentucky Hymn,” leaving the listener slightly haunted at the end of the tune.

The only devastating thing about this album is how it goes by too quickly with the prayer-like warmth of songs like “Bloom Like Roses” and revealing textured strings that sprawl beautifully across the other instruments.  The simplistic joyfulness of Paz Lenchantin’s songs created by flickers of light and pinging banjo tracks is truly irresistible.


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