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Tara Greenblatt | Animal Body

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United States - New Hampshire

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Folk: Modern Folk World: Drumming Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Animal Body

by Tara Greenblatt

soulful vocalist and impressive percussionist emanates wildness, rolls in the soil, howls with the wolves, and dives in the ocean in beautifully crafted contemporary folk originals laced with stunning strings and harmony arrangements.
Genre: Folk: Modern Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Can You Hear It
3:56 $0.99
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2. Up and Fly Away
4:29 $0.99
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3. Wah Wah Wah
4:52 $0.99
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4. Mine
6:05 $0.99
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5. Sweet Little Fishy
3:28 $0.99
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6. Animal Body
7:31 $0.99
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7. Nature Reflects Nature
4:06 $0.99
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8. Chaos Theory
4:55 $0.99
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9. Flocks & Shoals
5:22 $0.99
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10. Lift My Skirt
3:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Reviews


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Chris Lewin

Primal Beats
Tara’s new CD Animal Body is an amazing collection of new material. It also may be one of the finest incarnations of her band that has existed thus far. Tara’s powerful hand drumming can still effectively punch through my chest wall, and her voice still has the power to carry me to other realms. The new disk shares many of the same qualities that she is known for in her previous CDs. It is layered with all the soulful beats, rhythms and melodies that one who is familiar with Tara’s music would expect. The same authenticity that usually shines through is fully present. The songs speak of the wonders of nature, as well as all the joy and pain that are part of the human experience. The main thing that separates Animal Body from her other works is how primal it is. The energies of ancient goddess wisdom, child-like wonder, and primal instinct are all generated in these new songs. The highlight for me is the title track where Tara takes us on a shamanistic shape shifting adventure. I had to catch my breath after I heard it for the first time.
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Ricardo Passarelli

Review of Tara Greenblatt's Animal Body CD
Animal Body, co-produced by Jay Williston and Tara Greenblatt, is Tara Greenblatt’s most recent album release. If you don’t yet know Tara, you will after you hear this album, because you will be convinced by the songs she writes, and the way she sings them, that you know exactly who she is. Tara’s songs address mature themes such as motherhood, the joy and challenges of being an artist and a mom, and maintaining a relationship and artistic career. But the overriding theme in this album is the spiritual connection between nature and her instinctual self.
It is not possible to place this diverse collection of ten songs into a single genre: from the blues influenced “Up and Fly Away”, the jazzy swing of “Nature Reflects Nature”, the folky lullaby feeling of “Wah Wah Wah”, the soft latin rock feeling of “Sweet Little Fishy”, the African influences in many of the backup vocals and percussion, to the gospel/honky tonk feeling of the provocatively titled “Lift My Skirt”. The common musical connection among the songs can be described as acoustic/organic- no synths, Autotuned vocals or sub-tone-kick-pop-stuff on this album. It’s predominately acoustic bass, acoustic guitar and percussion. (Although Leslie Vogel did contribute a very nice acoustic piano part on Up and Fly Away).
Bass player Sai Bong Sing plays clean articulated lines on upright (bowed or fingered) and electric bass while guitarist Lucio Saverio Eastman plays mostly acoustic guitar, strumming tasteful chord voicings in just the right register, arpeggiated textures or hooky lines. These two players provide accompaniment that works to propel but never overpower the song. The main drive is from Tara’s vocal pocket which is always right on, since she is playing the djembe (an African drum) while singing. And I mean playing the djembe. Tara is an excellent percussionist as well as a vocalist and the synergy of doing these two things simultaneously makes her vocals incredibly tight.
While the sound is acoustic/organic, these are not the 3 chord, 1/4/5 six-string bashing songs that you are going to hear down at the local open mic. Tara’s songs all share interesting melodic contours and she and her band seem to enjoy taking us to unexpected but welcome harmonic places. The intro to “Flocks and Shoals” starts off with a simple bass line and some tasteful acoustic guitar noodling, African inspired background vocals and then Lucio goes into a U2-Edge-style acoustic guitar arpeggio to start the verse. The chorus takes us to another harmonic place- not disconnected but not totally expected. Through all of these changes the bass line plays on, gluing it all together.
One song that stands out from the rest in terms of style is “Mine”. This refers to a hole in the ground rather than being a possessive pronoun. The song recounts a coal mining disaster from the point of view of the mountain which in this case is not at all impassive. Sai Bong Sing’s bowed bass and guest player Doug Frankenberger’s slide guitar create a dark foreboding that something is not going to end well. The style is certainly folk ballad influenced but again the chorus takes us to an interesting harmonic place with an appropriately haunting vocal pad underneath Tara’s lead. This is perhaps the only song on which Tara does not play djembe, proving that she can sing even if she is not playing a drum.
It’s not all serious though. “Lift My Skirt” is done in an upbeat honky tonk gospel style with a good dose of tight skat singing by Tara thrown in. Guest player JT Lawrence contributes swampy banjo and dobro parts. This mood sets up the live-for-today-don’t-waste-time-lyrical message. The title track, “Animal Body”, starts with Thomas playing bowed bass with harmonics to set a spooky overtone that something weird is about to happen, and it does. Tara transforms into her instinctual animal self and takes the rest of us with her via a kaleidoscope of animal sounds and rhythmic stone age human chanting. (I’m actually just guessing here because stone age records won’t play on my system.)
The backup vocals are stellar throughout the album thanks to a talented caste of singers (Grace Aldrich, Shana Hall, Wendy Wetherbee, Kate Baker, Tudie Stropparro) and some very tasteful vocal arrangements. One of my favorites is “Sweet Little Fishy”, a song about bonding between a mother and her unborn child. The backup vocalists on this song also include Oen Kennedy who contributed some nice harmonic bass parts and a crisp latin-influenced acoustic guitar solo during the outro vamp.
The recording and mix reflect the acoustic/organic feeling of the music- no pop gimmicks here. Her djembe, like in “Can You Hear It”, is often mixed up with considerably more early reflections and ambiance (perhaps from the room mic) than Tara or the rest of the band which are usually mixed fairly dry. This is sometimes disconcerting because it sounds like the various elements do not share a common acoustic space. However, sometimes this aural fantasy sounds very cool. It’s a matter of personal taste and expectation. At times I wanted to hear 1 or 2 dB more Tara, perhaps with a bit more warmth (a mix term for an EQ boost around 300 Hz), but it’s just my personal mix ethic to focus on the most important element of the song, which is clearly Tara’s vocal, and to ruthlessly clear space to make this happen. Jonathan Wyner’s mastering was characteristically light-handed with regard to compression and limiting (if any). Plenty of dynamic range here and absolutely no brick wall limiting in keeping with the acoustic/organic feeling of the album.
I purchased this album at one of Tara’s live shows. If you have the opportunity to see her live you will hear her songs presented pretty much the way they are recorded on this album- with energy and passion.
Richard “Ricardo” Passarelli
Producer, Recording and Mix Engineer
Groton, MA
richard.passarelli@gmail.com
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