Review | Prairie Empire - Self-Titled

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[R]eleased this past June I must admit the beautiful, self-titled debut album from Prairie Empire fell under my radar until just recently and I simply had to tell the good readers of Music Savage all about it to atone for my music review crime.

Brooklyn based singer-songwriter Brittain Ashford and her orchestral bandmates of Prairie Empire created their starkly sparse, beautifully arranged album in Portland, OR as a good portion of the band reside in the indie-rock haven of the west coast. The opening track “Ten Fold” automatically draws the listener in as Ashford’s delicate voice weaves around a chorus of strings and horns that left goosebumps on this listener’s arms. The decidedly chamber-folk sound persists throughout the album, with each instrument and background vocal blending perfectly to the singer’s stories of seasons changing and hopeless love. The track “Summer Light” opens with a strumming ukulele and evokes that perfect idea of summer romance and longing that can only be well explained in a melancholy song. The next track “Snow” shifts the mood right into winter as Ashford sings “So come on inside/I have been waiting for a while/watching wide-eyed as the snow’s piling down/And you can hand me your coat/And I will put it with my own.” The lyrical imagery and supporting cast of instruments and voices help create an album that is perfect for every season.

This is Brittain Ashford’s first record with a full band and the result is an extraordinary collection of songs that get better with each listen. I expect we will be hearing more great things from the band of cross continental musicians known as Prairie Empire.

Buy Prairie Empire