CD Review: ‘The Number 8’ by Annalisa Tornfelt

Annalisa Tornfelt is best known for being the lead singer and fiddle player for the Portland, Ore. based Black Prairie. With a large portion of Black Prairie on tour in their sister group, The Decemberists; Annalisa is releasing her first full length solo album, The Number 8. You can read more about the process of recording the album and her musical career in the recent TAM interview.

When an album can evoke a feeling in the listener, the artist has achieved something important: a connection. When that same album can transport the listener to a specific place and time, then the artist has created a unique and important collection of music. The Number 8 is just such a rarity.

The first song on The Number 8, “Scared You’re Gonna Leave,” is a short but upbeat piece with a distinctly country rhythm and theme. On it’s own, the song may not immediately transport the audience, but as it fades away and leads into “Afterlife,” something magical may happen. The listener might close their eyes and find themselves in a small bar, listening and watching Annalisa perform a solo show with her acoustic guitar.

The play order of the songs on The Number 8 is incredibly important because of the way it gently glides between country and folk. Songs like “One Heart at a Time” and “Tired of Saying Sorry” are reminiscent of the bygone era June Carter or Patsy Cline, and are spaced out and counterpointed with a folk dancing partner.

Examples of the Annalisa’s folk stylings can be found in songs like “June June Hot Air Balloon” and “Starlighting.” Finally, there are the quiet compositions like “Nothingness to Me” that are almost ethereal in their delicate sound.

The sensory transportation that is accomplished with The Number 8 can partially be credited to the fact that each song was performed and recorded at producer Mike Coykendall’s house in Portland in the span of one day. But, the fact that Annalisa has had some of these songs playing in her heart and head for the better part of 10 years is probably the single largest contributor to the album’s success as a whole.

The Number 8 is a rarity in today’s musical world. It is a quiet, pure and joyful collection of music and for fans of country, folk and acoustic music and cannot be recommended enough.

Find out more about Annalisa Tornfelt’s The Number 8 here.

For more Annalisa, check out Black Prairie as well.

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