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Casey Abrams | Like a Mirror

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Don McLean Willie Nelson

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United States - Mass. - Boston

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Folk: Folk Blues Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Like a Mirror

by Casey Abrams

Haunting Americana songwriting that recalls the best of Don McLean.
Genre: Folk: Folk Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Twelve-Bar Blues (open)
2:28 $0.99
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2. The View from Here
3:24 $0.99
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3. Nobody's Song
2:59 $0.99
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4. So Long Away
2:59 $0.99
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5. My Doppelganger
4:08 $0.99
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6. We Don't Care How You Do It Up North
2:33 $0.99
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7. Ghost Story
4:07 $0.99
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8. The Times They Have a-Changed
2:36 $0.99
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9. Oiou
2:35 $0.99
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10. Twelve-Bar Blues (closed)
0:48 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Cambridge, Massachusetts-based songwriter Casey Abrams is a well-heeled traditionalist with an ear for reinvention. Raised on a diet of Leo Kottke, Hoagy Carmichael, and Ry Cooder, he has developed a style reminiscent of the finest traditional music, yet distinctive in its own right. His fresh take on American forms will leave you wondering why singer-songwriters toil over anything else.

Abrams' new Like a Mirror, released by U.S. indie label Wampus Multimedia, is reverent and contemporary, at once in touch with tradition and aware of its surroundings. Influenced by the likes of Don McLean, Spider John Koerner, and Leon Redbone, Abrams thinks for himself while he genuflects, crafting original songs on traditional themes. Like Beck and Iron & Wine, he has plenty of pulp for the presses, and translates old parchments into today's breaking news.

Abrams plays what he calls "tramp art music," melding the folkier leanings of Paul Simon, Warren Zevon, and Randy Newman with hints of jazz and progressive rock. This synthesis evokes southern-gothic Americana while liberally quoting the best of Tin Pan Alley, and is sweetened by Abrams' delicately cynical vocals and a unique, finger-picked guitar style that recalls folk, ragtime, and country blues. Despite his old-style musical background, Abrams creates a sound that is thoroughly modern, a treat for fans of trad iconoclasts like Jeff Buckley and M. Ward.

Bookended by Abrams' haunting "Twelve-Bar Blues," Like a Mirror maps the mind of a protagonist who has made more than his share of wrong turns in life. Ruminating in moody vignettes, he comes to a crossroads where he must decide whether or not to atone for his mistakes. From the chilling "Ghost Story" to the pivotal "My Doppelganger" to the playfully Dylanesque "The Times They Have a-Changed," Abrams builds tension with just his voice and an acoustic guitar. Virtuosity meets spontaneity in a record that is at once refined and natural.

*****

"Both Abrams' clear, earthy vocals and this somewhat gothic collection of road songs and tragic tales shows more than a little influence from Don McLean's dark, piquant style. The artistry Abrams put into these songs is evident in chilly narratives like his somewhat eerie 'Twelve Bar Blues' and the justice-comes-home-to-roost story of 'My Doppelganger.' He isn't averse to relationship songs -- 'The View From Here' is one of the more self-aware breakup songs you'll ever hear -- but prefers more character-driven pieces. Some of my other favorite moments on this disc were the twists and wry humor Abrams weaves into songs like the witty 'OIOU' and the ragtime-styled ode to parochialism 'We Don't Care How You Do It Up North.' 'This is the song I would have written for you / But it's written for nobody now' sings our host in the equally entertaining 'Nobody's Song,' the true-to-life mixture of spite and bemusement coming through loud and clear. Another high point is his 'Ghost Story,' an evocative tune about the 'ghost of our last chance -- or the shade of some long-dead romance' that haunts a pair of ex-lovers as effectively as Marley ever did Scrooge. Nothing complicated, just a very well-crafted song. Like A Mirror is part of a new series from Wampus (the label that issued last year's marvelous Arms of Kismet disc Eponymous) called the Wampus Multimedia Sessions, featuring a single performer recording a full disc over the course of a single day, evoking the mood and intimacy of a live performance in the context of a studio setting. This approach fits a singer-songwriter like Casey Abrams to a 't.' New traditionalist though he may be, Abrams crafts his own fresh take on familiar forms and breathes new life into them. This disc is a worthwhile pickup for anyone who enjoys thoughtful acoustic music from a singer-songwriter who's mastered the trick of looking backwards and forwards at the same time." --Jason Warburg, The Daily Vault

"One naked voice and a unique finger-picking guitar style, but potent, so potent. Casey Abrams, like other great folkies, questions the culture with his literate, honest songs, and his obvious sincerity makes the whole thing work masterfully. He's probably sick of hearing this by now (Like a Mirror is his sophomore release), but he all but channels Don McLean. These ten acoustic songs are intelligently eclectic, ranging from superbly silly (the Leon Redbone-ish 'We Don't Care How You Do It Up North') to caustically ranting ('The Times They Have a-Changed'). Clearly he's using his guitar to take care of some personal business, but it's our gain. He's got some absolutely gorgeous guitar chops, and his skills fit the material perfectly." --Kevan Breitinger, Indie-Music.com

"A young Loudon Wainwright III. I'm not talking about Wainwright's son, Rufus. I'm talking about the intimate, finger-picking guitar, subtle folk beauty vocals, and wry humor, dark corner portraits of Casey Abrams. Like a Mirror is part of the Wampus Multimedia Sessions, which present singer-songwriters recorded in the course of one day. Abrams lashes out as he sings 'la-la-la-la' on 'Nobody's Song,' saying, 'this is the song I would have written for you / but it's written for nobody now.' It's that humor-filled lyric of derision that finds Abrams in the company of Wainwright." --Ben Squires, Music Spectrum

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