REVERBfest at Hattie’s Hat

Ian Moore, Herman Jolly, Sweet Potatoes ...

6 p.m.Ian MooreIan Moore began his career as a Texas blues guitarist in his hometown of Austin, becoming a local celebrity in the process. But that was a long time ago, and for the past several years he's been remaking a name for himself as a folk-pop songwriter, crafting music that is unafraid to be catchy, pretty, and romantic. Moore's vocals are dramatic, resonant, and organic (imagine David Bowie dabbling in Americana, or a more earthbound Roy Orbison), but when he decides to really belt it out, the effect is as ethereal as Jeff Buckley's best moments. His latest record, To Be Loved, sounds like it was recorded under the tight grip of Jeff Lynne in the way it toes the line between looseness and complexity. There are flashes of the Beatles' spritely pop and Brian Wilson's lush arrangements throughout, which places Moore firmly within the Nick Lowe/Grant Lee Phillips family of songwriters. BRIAN J. BARR5 p.m.Herman JollyI've said it before: Herman Jolly's Mad Cowboy Disease is one of my favorite records of all time. He was living in Portland when it was recorded (note the song title "Willy Vlautin," a nod to the novelist and Richmond Fontaine frontman), so it's an honor to officially call him a Seattleite now. Jolly has a voice like cracked wood, which warms you in a manner not unlike waking up Saturday mornings to a drizzly rain. Lately he's been playing with his pop group Little Pieces, but for REVERBfest, he'll be taking a solo turn. Something about his solo stuff has always held an intimacy and charm that his full-band efforts haven't: It's familiar and cozy, like an old rocking chair, or memories of an old apartment, or something like that. BJB4 p.m.Sweet PotatoesJenny Asarnow's ambient soundplay mainly consists of layers of her own voice (and occasionally other people's voices). But pay attention, and you'll hear other things: small instruments like kazoos and tambourines, with a few carefully-selected sounds like recorded background noise and conversations, coughing, and water glasses on a tabletop. If you're not working to dissect the music, though, that's OK too—the melding of all those sounds is meant to evoke a certain mood or emotion, whether you're really listening or completely zoning out. Some of Asarnow's additions were recorded during her travels. "I have a lot of recordings I made when I was in Guinea in West Africa a couple years ago," she explains. "I have this one recording that I use a lot, but I don't think you can really tell what it is, necessarily, when you're listening to it. I was in that country during a national strike, and there was a big riot happening a couple miles away from where I was. There were people shooting guns and you can hear the gunfire." But Asarnow doesn't use the gunfire as part of a symbolic antiwar statement; the correlation isn't that direct. Rather, Asarnow writes songs to create an aural rendition of a mood or feeling she's experiencing at the time—like the emotional aftermath of the breakup she references in several songs. She just put out an EP, Sweet Potatoes and Friends, through small Bothell-based label Dandelion Gold, that's available on the label's site. SARA BRICKNER3 p.m.Kim VirantAs the former singer for rock band Lazy Susan, Kim Virant has been a staple of the Seattle scene since the '90s. Her deep auburn vocals have been compared to Stevie Nicks' and Natalie Merchant's, and her music—especially her album Songs From a Small House, recorded over a three-year span—blurs the line between roots and pop in the tradition of female singer-songwriters from the '70s. Most of the numbers are built on a simple framework of acoustic guitar, but come wrapped in vibrant, organic atmospherics provided by a significant cast of backup musicians, including Ty Bailie (Dept. of Energy), Rob Skinner (Coffin Break), Gary Westlake (Peter Frampton), and Rob and Chris Friel (Goodness). Heck, she's even made a fan of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. BJB

 
comments powered by Disqus