Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Black Prairie - Feast of the Hunter's Moon

Black Prairie was founded by two members of The Decemberists -- Chris Funk (guitarist) and Nate Query (bassist). They wanted to create an old-time instrumental string band to perform primarily instrumental music that did not fit in with The Decemberists' style. So, Funk and Query invited Jenny Conlee, also from The Decemberists, to play accordion, and Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld to lend their talents to the group. Black Prairie has been signed to Sugar Hill Records and has just released their debut album, Feast of the Hunter's Moon, in April. This album is a thirteen-song collection of their own "bluegrass" material, plus two traditional songs.

Upon listening to Feast of the Hunter's Moon, I thought I could really dig the dark, foreboding, sinster sound. I was wrong. The album was very boring, over thought, and over rated. Feast of the Hunter's Moon was too academic for my taste. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not a big fan of instrumental music, and Black Prairie definitely has not changed this. However, I do have to give them credit for the songs in which Tornfelt lent her airy and ghostly voice. Their songs do have an ability to evoke a time and place when the storm is rolling across the prairie, the wind is playing with the shutters and the screen door, and there's a fox in the hen-house. Despite their ability to create a mood, they are still unable to create a deep since of emotion.

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