Liz Janes & Create(!)

Liz Janes & Create(!)

Liz Janes & Create(!)

Liz Janes & Create(!)

Asthmatic Kitty

Working solely in traditional music can be a creative deathtrap depending on how conservative a musician is about faithfulness to the original. Those versions of old songs that stay wrapped up in period instrumentation, regional dialects/phrasings and other abstract limitations suffer from a redundancy that ones with even the most casual revisions don’t have to contend with. From Uncle Tupelo’s autumnal and fiery versions through Alasdair Roberts’s Middle Earth mythic realism, revisionist folk has been turning in the best retellings of these songs for over a decade, and now Liz Janes & Create(!) joins that list.

Planting themselves somewhere between the rural post-rock of Britain’s great Movietone and the paisley clad San Francisco freak-folk crowd, the collaborators recognize the value of turning pre-conceptions inside out, while keeping the dust of this finely-aged material intact. “Lonesome Valley” pleasantly creaks and groans like floorboards in some ancestral mountain cabin, while “Be My Husband” finds Janes’s voice repressed almost to a silent plea among the ramshackle rhythm and errant work camp clatter. “All the Pretty Horses” sees Janes’s gently cooing lullaby supported by a somnambulant drone placid enough to lull anyone to sleep. The group even bends back unexpectedly into clap-and-stomp gospel on “Run, Old Jeremiah/Keep Your Hand On the Plow.” While these songs might have been the original symphonies to God, Janes and her companions in Create(!) have turned them into evocations of the human spirit, and they’ve done a surprisingly touching job with it.

Asthmatic Kitty: www.asthmatickitty.com

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