Saturday, 9 August 2014

Jane Kramer - Break & Bloom Self Released

With a sound rich in the subtleties of folk and soaked in the spirit of Americana, Jane Kramer has announced her arrival as a recording artist in her own name in an impassioned and sumptuous style. Not one to dwell too long on the solo status, Jane has assembled a lengthy list of players and a similarly numerous array of instruments to produce a sound born out of Appalachia and honed in the creative melting pot of Portland Oregon. BREAK & BLOOM is a deep rooted album reflecting the land, transient nature and inspiration that has guided Jane from band member of The Barrel House Mamas to a solo artist equipped to take on those female performers spearheading the folk-Americana movement in the US, Canada and countries further afield.

Jane drew a load of inspiration from working alongside fellow North Carolina picker Malcolm Holcombe and she has developed the confidence to commit to record ten self-composed tracks and play a major role in the production duties. The real strength of the record is the ability to wrap flawless vocals around reams of rural Americana grit and harness the full range of roots instrumentation. The album opener ‘Georgia’ has a haunting start before picking up the tempo and recalling a longing for the South with references to Asheville, the state in the title and the road that penetrates the area I-95. A piano ballad follows in ‘The Devil Don’t Want’ before Jane unveils the stand out track and a sad break up song titled ‘Nobody’s Woman Tonight’. This track with strains of Appalachia revolves around the fiddle and harmonica and references Patsy Cline in a successful attempt to convey the pain of loss.

The roots sound further evolves when the banjo is introduced to a pair of tracks, ‘Hold Me Whiskey’ and the emotional and personal theme to ‘Mourning Dove’. The rural reflection continues in ‘That Muddy Water’ where more electric has been added alongside the beautiful soulful tones of the organ. By now you can start to picture the concoction of sounds that pull together wonderfully around the sincere songs with a horn segment added to the laid back ‘Red Balloon’ and one that complements neatly with piano on the groove laden ‘Plant Me a Willow Tree’.

The only non-Jane Kramer composed track included is the gospel number ‘How Far Am I From Canaan’ where inspirational organ contributes to an uplifting number which raises the spirituality stakes of the album. ‘Any Way You Like, Child’ is Jane’s take on gypsy jazz and the accordion is used effectively to create an infectious beat and rhythm. The remaining track is the acoustically strummed classical folk song ‘One Precious Life’ where Jane’s vocals reach their peak and she uses the optimism and familiarity of Asheville, Virginia and Georgia to lead her out of some of her darker moments.

BREAK & BLOOM gets its formal UK release on September 8 and has the strength to enable the name of Jane Kramer to make inroads into the minds of UK Americana fans. Of course as per usual any UK press would be massively supported by a visit to our shores and the prospect of listening to Jane live is an enticing one. The market may be a little crowded but there is enough merit in the music of Jane Kramer for her to create a niche.

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