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MP3 Silvergirl - Our Earthquake Dreams

Old stories sung to the absent leaves

10 MP3 Songs in this album (39:14) !
Related styles: Country: Americana, Folk: Gentle, Type: Acoustic

People who are interested in Johnny Cash Mark Kozelek Wilco should consider this download.

At the opening of Silvergirl''s debut effort, Our Earthquake Dreams, the sound of a harmonica knifes through the mix, ushering in a new band and a new blend of vintage country & ''60''s folk. The harmonica almost sounds like an alarm and according to songwriter Steve O''Connell, that description fits just fine.

"Yeah I can see that. There are a lot of songs on this record about people finally waking up to what''s going on in their lives. If I had to describe the record though, I''d say it''s more about the acceptance of that. It''s about finally acknowledging where you are and accepting the fact that you, and no one else, put yourself there. There''s also a lot of uncertainty in the record though too, because after you take a good hard look at yourself there''s a tendency to say, ''Well, what do I do now?''"

O''Connell (who is also the bands lead vocalist) manages to find both of these emotions through an easy blend of narrative and melody. A self proclaimed "disciple of Paul Simon", O''Connell seeks to find what he calls the "image" for each song.

"That''s where it all starts for me. The song doesn''t begin with a huge existential dilemma. It''s only after, when you get a question like, ''what''s this album about?'' that you start to try and put that together. I just start playing the guitar and I wait for an image. A snapshot of an event, or a place, or persons face. Wether it be something that happened to me, or a place I''ve been to, or not, it doesn''t really matter. It''s that image that informs the rest of the song. It puts me in a certain mood and whenever I''m working on the song, I come back to that image and it puts me in that place again."

...Earthquake is full of these images, but O''Connell''s songwriting style doesn''t always follow a straight line.

"The great thing about finding that image, that snapshot, is that you can either create a linear story from that, or just build off (the image) in a bunch of different directions. If a story comes to mind, I go with it. But if it doesn''t, I try not to force it too much."

These songs are complimented by simple arrangements. At times only O''Connell''s light fingerpicking backs up each track, but the majority of the record is supported by just the right amount of rhythm (Adam Melberth on Bass. Matthew Sitz on Drums) and keys (Allison Hendrix).

"All the songs that made the record started with just voice and guitar, but once we all got together in the church, the band really brought some of the songs to life. We tried to arrange all of them, but in the end a song like Native Son just worked better with guitar only. Again, because of the nature of the project and the fact that we were all just starting to play together we worked quickly and tried not to get in the way of the song."

The nature of the "project" that O''Connelll is referring to is the RPM challenge to record an albums worth of material in the 28 days of February.

"I heard about it on NPR in March of ''08 while I was driving and I just thought to myself ''I''m doing that next year.'' I thought I was just going to do it by myself, but once I approached Allison to play a bit on a few tracks, it turned into much more. She knew Matthew and I knew Adam, and there you go. All of a sudden, I had a band."

The band rehearsed the record in a north-side Chicago church and liked the atmosphere so much that they decided to record the album there live.

"Well, at first I was going to try and do it. God! ...that would have been a disaster. But we really wanted to do it in the church. We felt comfortable there and we had learned to play the songs as a group. I brought them all in and we learned them together, so it made sense to track it together live, like we had rehearsed. That''s where Philip came in."

"Phillip", is Phillip Amerson, who runs Bitterson Music in Chicago.

We were looking for someone to record this record, in this strange space. We had no money to really offer this person and we had about two weeks to find the person, record and mix the record. So I just surfed the internet for a few days, made some phone calls and by the grace of God we found Phillip. He came in, listened to a rehearsal and said ''yeah let''s do it.'' He brought everything we needed into the church and gave us a amazing deal. I just can''t say enough about the whole experience. He''s as much a part of this record as anyone.

So what''s next for Silvergirl?

"Well, right now we''re hoping to get this record out to as many people as possible. We''re a new band and we''ve had a few line-up changes since the album was recorded, but I really think we have something to offer the music community. I wouldn''t be putting this out there if I didn''t think that. I''m proud of this record and I''m proud and thankful for the talented people who worked on it."

Although Wilco is mentioned as another influence, Our Earthquake Dreams doesn''t venture into the ambient experimentation of works such as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which is one of O''Connell favorite records. Our Earthquake Dreams is more direct, and yet walks a fine line between the hopeful uncertainty of a new day, and the secret yearning for a time when the sun was only seen through the hazy shade of sleep.

For more on Silvergirl and the making of Our Earthquake Dreams please visit https://www.tradebit.com

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