I’m A Harmony
The word “legend” gets thrown around a lot – and generally, it refers to someone’s sales status more so than whatever creative achievement they have accomplished. Well, Linda Perhacs is legendary, based solely on her 1970 release Parallelograms, which has found fans as disparate as sludge-masters Opeth to freak folk all-star Devendra Banhart. She was lumped into the “New Weird America” movement and labeled a “psychedelic” folk singer, but fan devotion didn’t equal sales, and she returned to being a dental hygienist until she released The Soul Of Natural Things in 2014.
Perhacs, at age 75, has retired from cleaning teeth, but thankfully not from creating beautiful music. Her newest, I’m A Harmony is a wonderful, odd creation that exists in its own time and aural space. Assisted by The Autumn Defense (Pat Sansone and John Stirratt), Julia Holter and Fernando Perdomo among others, the record opens with Perhacs heavenly wrought vocals on “Winds of the Sky” (which features an atmospheric guitar solo from Nels Cline), and the rest of the albums 11 cuts are gentle, emotive, finely assembled creations that literally sound like nothing else. It’s ethereal in the way of Vashti Bunyan’s masterpiece Just Another Diamond Day, “spacey” like early Pink Floyd, and humorous at times, such as the backwards children’s voices on the title cut.
Linda Perhacs’ music exists for the sheer joy of its creation. Three albums over a 40+ year span don’t define a “career”, exactly, but no matter. As Perhacs sings on the last cut, “You Wash My Soul in Sound”. That she does. Heavenly.