amongst books

amongst books

Monday, November 21, 2011

Andrea Simms-Karp Hibernation Nation CD Release

On Saturday night, Charles and I had the pleasure of attending the Ottawa CD release night 2 of Hibernation Nation by Andrea Simms-Karp at the Gallery, Eclessiax Church in the Glebe.

If you don't have Hibernation Nation yet, you should pick up a copy pronto. The CD, as you can likely guess from the title, takes its inspiration from winter. It makes a nice compliment to Adam Gopnik's CBC Massey Lectures on Winter. Andrea's lyrics on the CD dwell on themes such as the isolation from living in a winter climate, winter as an external severe force we need to shelter from, melancholy resulting from a lack of light. There's something cheering about contemplating the severity of winter from inside one's warm abode whilst listening to this beautiful CD.

I love Andrea's music and have been a fan for a number of years. I can't remember if we first heard her somehow at Cafe Nostalgica or later, but i think it was in the early aughts that we first heard her and if not at the cafe, then thru a connection to someone who was a regular performer there. i was enchanted from the get by her clear high tones and lyrics and a kind of sassy don't take no bullshit attitude. ("You know me, I'm gonna work it" One Lane Highway)

As a side note, i want to say again how much I adore the fact that we have such a good music scene here in Ottawa. thank you Ottawa & area musical wonders for being so damn good. to work creatively in this town, i need to be surrounded by your good vibes & talent.

For some reason i didn't realize that Andrea has a band. I've only ever heard her perform alone. I had heard of her cousin Brian Simms before, but never had a chance to hear him perform live. He opened on Saturday night and I enjoyed his songs very much. I have one already from the fabulous Ottawa for Haiti CD, Old Tree, which he performed on Saturday night. Accompanying Brian was Adam Fogo, hella talented on an instrument that looked a bit like a cross between a bass & a cello. or a bass that he played with a bow. {research has identified the instrument as a viola da gamba, hurray!}

Andrea and her band, most excellent band, i might add (Brian Simms, Jeff Gleeson & Jack MacGregor), began with a knock-yer-socks-off rendition of the Bill Withers classic, Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone. The band was joined by Jerusha and Christine, two vocalists who go by the handle Double Edged Soul, and Andrea Harden, a violinist.

They were amazing and complemented Andrea's dulcet tones nicely (sorry about the dulcet tones, i'm running out words for great sounding. mellifluous isn't right, because Andrea's voice isn't full of honey or overly sweet, it's clear and high and warm, not brash sounding, but soft and light. damn my inarticulate tongue). Later the vocalists joined Andrea for Timoneer, such a heart-rending song. hard to pick favourites with such a fantastic CD, but i must say that i keep coming back to this song, its intensity, the grief. Andrea Harden also played on more songs. The violin was a perfect addition, adding a harmonic counterpoint to Andrea's voice.

The venue where the concert took place was quite nice, small but with excellent acoustics, hard wood floors, the added touch of xmas lights, and a homey feel. There were also baked goods and Italian soda. I should also say that Andrea looked sexy and resplendent in a yellow dress. The whole evening was resplendent and sexy (that drummer with the blue shirt and intense eyes, swoon, swoon...)

The evening ended with a standing ovation (of course), and an encore from Andrea's last CD, Sleeper with the song Silvering. "There's something about this neighbourhood..." Was lovely to hear that song live. And then we walked out into the imaginary snow.

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