Like a good gumbo, Po’ Girl’s music blends genres and styles and lets them simmer to perfection. The current line-up of Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira with luthier Benny Sidelinger spent the summer of ’08 at Austin’s Screen Door Studios recording their upcoming release, Deer in the Night.
Complementing the band’s core musicians who play everything from the banjo to the accordion to the gut bucket bass the album features appearances from nearly a dozen guests, mostly on various percussion parts.
The first notes on the album are the playful bicycle bell intro to Deer In The Night, a tribute to a deer that fell victim to the group’s van.
Dig Me A Hole starts off sounding like it might be a folky mountain tune, that is until the clarinet kicks in. Then, just as soon as it might end, the banjo kicks back in for an instrumental bit that’s Appalachia worthy.
Awna’s accordion fills her song, Gandy Dancer, which was inspired her family’s immigration to Canada from Portugal where they were “sugar cane farmers and grave diggers… hard, hard working people.”
The weighty subject of child abuse is handled beautifully in the new version of No Shame which first appeared on the girls’ side project, Sofia’s, No Shame album. (“Gandy Dancer”, “Fool” and “Isobel” also appear on both records.)
There’s also the funky Things We Believe In, Fool (which has been fleshed out since it’s first recording), the incredibly-likely-to-get-stuck-in-your-head Gasoline and the haunting Bloom.
The only place for potential disappointment on the whole record is the bonus track, Julie Miller’s All My Tears. And truly the letdown is that it’s not a more obscure Julie tune (we’d love to hear their interpretation of “By Way of Sorrow,” “Orphan Train” or “Take Me Back”). Still, the execution of the song is nearly perfect with Allison taking lead vocals and Awna adding just the right level of harmony.
Also, check out our interview with Allison from earlier this year.