First off I must state what a fabulously voice New York-based musician Heather Masse possesses and that she uses it beautifully. With support from her band of Jed Wilson (keyboards), Karl Doty (bass), Lyle Brewer (acoustic, electric and baritone guitar) and Joel Arnow (drums) plus, Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O’Donovan on harmony vocals simple Masse’s music comes over in a warm relaxed fashion. She wrote all the songs too —apart from the title cut ‘Bird Song’ (a co-write with fellow Wailin’ Jennys act, Nicky Mehta). From start to finish the set is spare and enchanting.
Rich in her jazz roots and folk littered with pop and country the music weaves so gently —you could compare it to fitting like an old shoe as she utilises the above in a cultured, near hypnotic fashion.
The bass playing vocalist with The Wailin’ Jennys, Masse keeps it real simple and never once over elaborates either in production or vocal delivery. There is every suggestion Heather’s popularity and fine musical acumen will go on from here. If she is cool and laidback to becoming horizontal on a couple of tracks (that I love) she kicks up more dust than a Texas twister on the rockin country, swing delight ‘High Heeled Woman’. Listen to Brewer’s trucking lead guitar runs —follow that why don’t you! I could imagine the likes of Texas blues gal Marcia Ball like with a few more tackling this one.
Seductive and superbly relaxed the peaceful ‘Mornings Breaking The Rules’ coupled with a gentle coercing vintage sounding ‘Bathtub’ (Billie Holiday etc would have loved to do this) and with tinkling piano ‘Orphan Girl’ that eases along in a heart-breaking Hem-like style are the business. Boy, what a beautiful cut this is. she wrote all the songs with few better than ‘Ophan Girl’. A song that owes a little borrowed from the chest of traditional classics in texture, tone and lyrical content as she carves out her own indelible mark.
Others of note include the jazz shuffling ‘Hollywood’, the stripped-bare ‘Be My Sailor’ and with an infectious lilt to it ‘Mittens’ weaves between country and folk in splendid fashion (great acoustic bass and effective piano). There are others of note, and some though sleepers they are non-the less quality. Songs like ‘Time Is A Hoax’ and the gentle coercing ‘Be My Sailor’ are of the kind that you will be end up playing time and time again and enjoy more every time you hear them.
Heather is featured on track 2 from Red House Records player
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