This song particularly, but the album as a whole, is mic’ed exceedingly well by recording engineer Jim Begley, whose work at the Studio and on the Big Easy soundboard is always above average. There’s virtually no feeling of a room, but neither does the disc sound manufactured. Every sound is crisp and well placed.
The album’s title track starts with a nice Begley touch, a hollowed out guitar and vocals, like listening to a transistor radio, lending the creepy, historic vibe the song requires. Dahlin leads with the old children’s rhyme, “Trot, Trot to Boston,” then segues into a Cab Calloway tale of a religious nut who thought he’d found God in industry. But Dahlin wags her finger at him, “oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no,” super sexy, with multiplied vocals tracks going higher and higher in the register. Here, too, newly found guitarist Maxwell Cantlin is excellent with his work on the electric guitar, doing a nice Pat Metheny impersonation at times.
The resulting album as a whole establishes Dahlin as a genuine chanteuse, less annoying than Diana Krall and not nearly as coy as Nora Jones. She’s got the female empowerment thing going on, clearly, but she doesn’t try to cram it down your throat and you get the impression she’s having a great deal of fun. Like her live shows, you’ll be won over right out of the box.
In the second half of the disc, she actually scats her way through “Loneliness Is ...” Seriously. When was the last time you heard scat on a local album? It’s been years for me. It’s a ballsy choice, but it’s a chance that Dahlin likely took without a second thought, and I dare you not to love it.
Emilia Dahlin | June 23 | SPACE Gallery, in Portland
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Emilia Dahlin: www.emiliadahlin.com
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