Music Review: Kara Suzanne – Parlor Walls [self-released]
One of the great things about the Americana music genre the ability of the musicians to work familiar ground into unfamiliar and surprising places. Kara Suzanne and her excellent backing band, the Gojos – David Cieri – clavinet, hammond B3, mellotron, piano, wurlitzer, Steve Lewis – guitars, harmonica, lap steel, pedal steel Bill Mead – drums, percussion , Jordan Scannella – bass – have mined the genres of American music with Parlor Walls. Country, jazz, blues, Cajun and more have been seamless woven together to craft an outstanding release.
The refracted musical influences run from the pedal-steel and piano smokey-bar crooner You’re For Real, to the yearning for lost love of neo-folk of Madeliene, the ’20s Jazz meets country ditty Eyes Wide Open, the flawless punk-pop of General Henry (which sounds like it’s lifted from the Chrissie Hind book of snarl and pout rock), the Polynesian jazz of A Little Spin and the country-fried barn-burner Not’ Doin.
Suzanne ’s vocals style is expressive and expansive and ties the songs together exceptionally well. Her semi-veiled narratives lyrics of hard times – the 70s country-rocker title cut ” We had a little house Clothes that Momma made Still I questioned and I cried Asking where and asking why,” love lost, inand the slinky Euro-Raggae laced Bits Of Blue “Horses at the O.T.B. are running like I’m making to do, Cause my love, won’t wait for you” and regret of found love in the revved-up honky-tonk of Doses “Little doses of you are all I can stand , With the closeness of you I do what I can”
With all that’s going on here Parlor Walls is quite an accomplished effort. A sort of American-style neo-skiffle album that provides many layers of complex beauty for anyone that appreciates great music.