Reviews

Set the Woods on Fire

Author: Niz Proskocil
08/02/2007 | Omaha World Herald | www.omaha.com | Live Show Review
Art Bell, king of the paranormal, has a fan in Orenda Fink.

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Band members include, from left, Dan McCarthy, Ryan Fox, Adrianne Verhoeven, Orenda Fink and Corey Broman.
The Omaha musician formed a band last year and named it after Bell, retired host of late-night talk show "Coast to Coast AM."

For years, Bell's distinct voice kept Fink company during lengthy late-night drives on tour.

When Bell didn't respond to her request for permission to use his name, Fink decided the legal complications weren't worth it. So she changed the name to Art in Manila, inspired by Bell's move last year to the Philippines.

Although Art in Manila's music isn't about aliens, UFOs and Sasquatch sightings, it is soothing, like Bell's voice. On Saturday, Fink's group will perform at the Waiting Room Lounge to celebrate the new album, "Set the Woods on Fire."

Released on Omaha's Saddle Creek Records, "Set the Woods on Fire" is Fink's first record since her solo album, "Invisible Ones," in 2005.

Fans knew the Birmingham, Ala., native long before that as half of folk-pop duo Azure Ray. The group, which also featured singer Maria Taylor, disbanded in 2004.

Fink's solo work was inspired in part by Haitian folk music and a trip she took to Haiti, India and Cambodia. "Invisible Ones" was a departure from the love songs she had composed during her days with Azure Ray. It was an opportunity to focus on the external world.

Fink, 31, toured extensively in support of "Invisible Ones," assembling several different backing bands with revolving members. Working with a group rekindled her love for collaboration.

For Art in Manila, she enlisted keyboardist-singer Adrianne Verhoeven, bassist Ryan Fox, guitarist Steve Bartolomei, drummer Corey Broman and keyboardist Dan McCarthy.

"I just really loved the band feel," she said. "I started writing songs with everyone in mind. Their energy added a lot to the feel of it."

Together, the group made "Set the Woods on Fire," which arrives in stores Tuesday. Fink approached the subject matter differently this time, leaning more toward the emotional and introspective.

"I felt like I wanted to go back to a more emotive style," she said.

Tonight at 7, Fink will give a talk at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts about her residency there. She collaborated with Los Angeles musician Cedric Lemoyne for a "found sounds" project, which incorporates noises like signs blowing in the wind.

On Sunday, she leaves on tour with Los Angeles band Rilo Kiley and will serve as the band's guitarist. This fall, she takes her own group out on the road.