Innovative guitarist Janet Feder draws her own sonic territory on this first collection of original songs. The Colorado-based guitarist is known for her extended techniques on the prepared guitar, and her work was first introduced to the wider public on the like-minded collection of innovative guitarists I Never Meta GuitarSolo Guitars for the XXI Century) (Clean Feed, 2010). Prior to that, she recorded with close conspirators such as Fred Frith on Ironic Universe.
Songs with Words was a project initiated by producer Joe Shepard, who encouraged Feder to use his studio. At first, she envisioned writing songs for others to sing, but since Shepard wanted to record within two weeks, Feder ended up singing the songs herself and playing all the guitar parts. Her usage of small metal objects that alter the sound of the acoustic guitar strings enable her to explore new tunings and an expanded sonic palette. Her singing is innocent and unassuming, focused on the topics of the songs, most of them inspired by the political, anti-war folk songs of the sixties. But unlike other folk songs, Feder's guitar playing and vocal delivery are not rooted in any familiar folk tradition.
All the songs were recorded live, without any digital effects; just Feder, her guitarsurrounded by 15 microphonesand occasional guests. The songs have a clear structure: strong melodic themes, verses and choruses, but they still all sound mysterious, demanding repeated listening before allowing themselves to be deciphered fully. She recited her pleas for a more compassionate world in a reserved, fragile voice, even when she wishes that "soldiers will refuse to fight" on "My Blackest Crow." Her range sounds clearer on the instrumental "A Thousand Million Petty Tyrants." Her cover of Bob Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" sounds as if she already knows that its call for action is not enough. The somber, melancholic beauty of the personal "Plan to Live" brings to mind the songs of Nick Drake. "Ocean Wall" is a silent sonic poem that imagines a peaceful scenery.
Songs with Words is a unique, haunting gem.
Track Listing: Heater; Your Country Is Like A Wall; My Blackest Crow; A Thousand
Million Petty Tyrants; Blowin' In The Wind; O The Sky Falling Moment;
Plan To Live; White Men Landing; Trees Are Burning; Ocean Wall.
Personnel: Janet Feder: guitars, voice, rubber ball, toothpick, hands; Paul Fowler:
voice; Larry Thompson: percussion; Joe Shepherd: piano; Gary Grundei:
piano, toy grand; Joe Shepherd: cellphone, wine glass, voice; Mike Yach:
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!