The Woody Nightshade
Strange Attractors Audio House
Hang out at the Renaissance Faire long enough, and your ear changes. Pretty soon your guitar is tuned like a beat up mandolin that a shepherd hauled around in the rocky moors and marshy fenlands of the 13th century. Kraus bought one of those ancient music tuners, and sings along with it in a mournful, lonesome keening that is both sad and eerie. It remains calm and quiet, and there are no fireworks here, just a flickering flame under a cooking pot. Read through the musician list here and you’ll discover bowed dulcimer, bouzouki, and the scary sounding “Analog Circuitry.” After a few listens though this collection you’ll either be enchanted with the drum circle and fairey ring sound, or hope there is an analog tuning knob that will twist the record over to something a bit less depressing.
The ten cuts here offer minor keys, almost to the point of microtonality. Topics are loss, damaged love, hopelessness, and nostalgia for a time where plague and famine were as significant as a lost cellphone or a hacked Facebook identity. Her aura may be shimmering in a heavenly luminescence, but Sharron Kraus is most certainly an acquired taste, one I may not be sophisticated enough to truly enjoy.