Saddle Creek | Orenda Fink | Reviews


Ask The Night

Author: Andrew Duncan
10/13/2009 | | | Album Review
I remember one night I was far removed from the city.The backyard stretched out into the dark sky with the sound of cicadas off in the distance. Sitting on a wood stump, I sat there listening to these ghostly sounds of the night. A friend appeared out of nowhere with an acoustic guitar and started playing meandering melodies as the notes echoed out into the night. We were trapped in an eternal darkness that was as comforting as much as it was daunting.

Somehow Orenda Fink has graciously captured both the musicality of early Southern folk and the complex essence of the night. Not since Iron & Wine's The Sea & The Rhythm have I heard a group of songs that is so fragile yet powerful, like a Carson McCullers novel, while maintaining an organic structure to the songs. The cello creates a chill while the slide guitar gives a sense of warmth, like a backwoods contradiction or a bootleg session of the Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet era.

It seems so simple at first but listen closely. You begin to transform yourself into place as she sings, "Why is the night sad? Why is the night so sad?" like she resurrected the spirit of Margo Timmins. As she carries the tune, there is all of these elegant and antique instruments in the background adding atmosphere and giving the song a life and breath all its own.

This is how the entire album plays. Although songs like "The Garden" starts out a little superficial, give it a moment for things to settle in and you will be drawn back into that intimacy.

It's a little surprising how quick this album spins through, but trust me that Fink wastes no time filling in all of the space, and you will quickly find out that "Higher Ground" is as good as a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band or "Alabama" serves as a modern day Alice Gerrard.

Orenda Fink has stunningly outdone herself.
Ask The Night

Ask The Night

LP / CD / MP3