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.

Ottmar Liebert Played to a Packed Variety Playhouse on June 11

Ottmar Liebert

 

Born in Cologne, Germany to Chinese-German father and Hungarian mother, Ottmar Liebert began playing guitar at 11, and traveled extensively through Europe and Asia intent on fully absorbing each musical tradition he encountered. After pursuing his Rock and Roll dreams first in his native Germany and then in Boston, he abandoned the frustrations of the East coast and settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

Ottmar has said that “flamenco is a music both romantic and dangerous; it is an attitude as much as it is a musical genre.” Therein lies the philosophy that catapulted him to fame at the end of the ’80s with an engaging mix of subdued flamenco guitar and south American percussion, rock, jazz and pop influences. His attitude actually suppresses the more challenging and “dangerous” aspects of flamenco in favor of the romantic – and the stylish. He’s not a technical wizard on the guitar, but he has a feel for the music’s innate sensuality and a gift for creating memorable melodies.  His new CD is entitled three-oh-five.

 

Jon Gagan, Ottmar Liebert and Chris Steele.

Jon Gagan, Ottmar Liebert and Chris Steele.

Ottmar Liebert plays with focus, intent and bare feet.

Ottmar Liebert plays with focus, intent and bare feet.

The multi-talented Chris Steele.

The multi-talented Chris Steele.

Creative percussion.

Creative percussion.

Ottmar Liebert welcomes the audience and introduces his band.

Ottmar Liebert welcomes the audience and introduces his band.

 

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Jon Gagan on bass.

Ottmar Liebert in "the zone."

Ottmar Liebert in “the zone.”

Jon Gagan.

Jon Gagan.

Ottmar's strategically placed sandals.

Ottmar’s strategically placed sandals.

Romantic and dangerous flamenco.

Romantic and dangerous flamenco.

Chris Steele on cajon.

Chris Steele on cajon.

He’s not a technical wizard on the guitar, but Ottmar  has a feel for the music’s innate sensuality.

He’s not a technical wizard on the guitar, but Ottmar has a feel for the music’s innate sensuality.

 

For more information about Ottmar Liebert, visit www.ottmarliebert.com.

For more information about Variety Playhouse, visit www.variety-playhouse.com.