US - Nebraska - Full Moon 158 - 08/06/09
A Cruel, Cruel Woman
Lone Prairie Records
Ember Schrag is a new name to me, from out of the blue. A femme singer/songwriter, but not just another femme singer/songwriter. A Cruel, Cruel Woman
is the Nebraskan's debut album.
Ember Schrag can be bagged as folk/country music, and she's presenting quite a tasteful platter. A Cruel, Cruel Woman is indeed a shiny and sparkling
debut. Not a stunning, bull's eye type album, but a charming and very fine one it sure is. She's got a warm and smooth voice, without lacking a certain friction.
Will Oldham, Gillian Welch, and Joanna Newsom are named among her influences. At first I was about to say: Imagine something like Lucinda Williams meets PJ
Harvey. Then I thought it over and found it a bit silly. Or wrong. Or...? Anyway, Ember Schrag is an artist with the right credible attitude to stand on her
own two legs. Nice melodies, good lyrics - most of the time.
Ember (vocals, guitar, glockenspiel), is backed by Günter Voelker (lead guitar, backing vox, drums, bass, washboard, mandolin, banjo), Rebecca McPherson
(piano), and Annie Aspengren (cello), giving her songs the right sober and accurate instrumentation and backdrop. The album (10 songs) clocks in at less than
30 minutes, which is quite a fitting length. Song-wise, as well as minute-wise. Personal faves are: Opening "Cupid's Bloom", "Two Suns", plus the deliciously
sad "Sad, Sad Song".
Ember Schrag describes her music as: "A desert prairie drive". A recommended trip. A Cruel, Cruel Woman isn't cruel at all, this is just a perfect
mid-desert gas-food-lodging stop-over.
Copyright © 2009 Håvard Oppøyen