|Ani DiFranco||Red Letter Year|
Ani DiFranco — Red Letter Year (September 30, 2008) ♣√♣ As some reviewers have pointed out, this album might be a disappointment for those who are deeply in love with the 90’s Ani.
♣√♣ It’s much like To The Teeth, Revelling/Reckoning, Knuckledown or Reprieve (specially very similar to this one), but actually a lot more future~oriented, sonically fairly innovative, tight and song~by~song perfectly crafted.
♣√♣ I’d like to say which songs are my favourites, but.. I can’t mention none in particular.
♣√♣ I love The Atom, Emancipated Minor, and the three first: Red Letter Year, Alla This and Present/Infant. But all the songs of this excellent album are truly standouts. (By A. R. Sánchez on October 11, 2008) © Ani DiFranco at Pantages Theater.
Birth name: Angela Maria DiFranco
Born: September 23, 1970, Buffalo, New York, United States
Genres: Folk rock, indie, alternative
Occupations: Musician, singer–songwriter, poet
Instruments: Guitar, bass guitar, tenor guitar, vocals, percussion, piano
Location: New York, NY, U.S.A.
Album release: September 30, 2008
Record Label: Righteous Babe
01. Red Letter Year 4:18
02. Alla This 3:14
03. Infant / Present 3:03
04. Smiling Underneath 5:00
05. Way Tight 3:51
06. Emancipated Minor 4:31
07. Good Luck 2:35
08. The Atom 5:26
09. Round a Pole 2:59
10. Landing Gear 2:56
11. Star Matter 2:49
12. Red Letter Year Reprise 6:27
♣√♣ feat: Rebirth Brass Band 1, 12
℗ Righteous Babe Records, Inc.Description:
♣√♣ “I’ve got myself a new mantra,” Ani shares on Red Letter Year. “It says ‘Don’t forget to have a good time.’” This attitude clearly influenced the dozen tunes on the album, which celebrate existence, profess love and tackle thorny political issues with an infectious sense of glee. It’s one of Ani’s most joyous records to date!
♣√♣ Featuring her live band and lots of special guests, Red Letter Year was sculpted over the course of two years, a period in which Ani continued to hone her songwriting, performing and recording skills, all the while balancing her new role as a mom. The end result is an album of focused, layered, panoramic music.
♣√♣ Oh, yeah, and it GLOWS IN THE DARK!
♣√♣ C.C. Adcock Guitar (Electric), Main Personnel
♣√♣ Stafford Agee Group Member, Member of Additional Personnel, Trombone
♣√♣ Glen Andrews Group Member, Member of Additional Personnel, Trumpet
♣√♣ Animal Prufrock Guitar (Electric), Main Personnel, Percussion
♣√♣ Byron “Flee” Bernard Member of Additional Personnel, Saxophone
♣√♣ Vincent Broussard Group Member, Member of Add. Personnel, Saxophone
♣√♣ Richard Comeaux Main Personnel, Pedal Steel, Pedal Steel Guitar
♣√♣ Ani DiFranco Artwork, Audio Production, Composer, Design, Engineer, Guitar, Guitar (12 String), Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Guitar (Synthesizer), Guitar (Tenor), Optigan, Percussion, Producer, Synthesizer, Ukulele, Vocals, Wurlitzer
♣√♣ Mike Dillon Main Personnel, Marimba, Percussion, Tubular Bells, Vibraphone
♣√♣ Scot Fisher Artwork, Design
♣√♣ Phil Frazier Bandleader, Group Member, Leader, M. of Add. Personnel, Tuba
♣√♣ Megan Gould Main Personnel, Violin
♣√♣ Brian Grunert Artwork, Design
♣√♣ Jon Hassell Main Personnel, Trumpet
♣√♣ Corey Henry Group Member, Member of Additional Personnel, Trombone
♣√♣ Marika Hughes Cello, Main Personnel
♣√♣ Jeff Klein Main Personnel, Vocals
♣√♣ Jeff D. Klein Vocals
♣√♣ Brent Lambert Mastering
♣√♣ Rene Lopez Main Personnel, Percussion
♣√♣ Tony Maimone Audio Engineer, Engineer
♣√♣ Jack Miele Audio Engineer, Engineer
♣√♣ Allison Miller Drums, Main Personnel, Percussion
♣√♣ Mike Napolitano Audio Production, Engineer, Mixing, Producer
♣√♣ David Rashou Audio Engineer
♣√♣ Rebirth Brass Band Additional Personnel, Primary Artist
♣√♣ Ken Rich Engineer
♣√♣ Korey Richey Audio Engineer
♣√♣ Jenny Scheinman Main Personnel, Violin
♣√♣ Derrick Shezbie Group Member, Member of Additional Personnel, Trumpet
♣√♣ Shorty Frazier Drums (Bass), Member of Additional Personnel
♣√♣ Todd Sickafoose Arranger, Bass, Bass (Electric), Bass Instrument, Bowed Bass, Engineer, Main Personnel, Piano, Pump Organ, String Arrangements, Synthesizer, Wurlitzer
♣√♣ Tim Staszak Artwork, Design
♣√♣ Derrick Tabb Drums (Snare), Group Member, M. of Additional Personnel
♣√♣ Jessica Troy Main Personnel, Viola
♣√♣ Jesse Voccia EngineerAllMusic Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ****
♣√♣ Ani DiFranco’s Red Letter Year is, upon first listen, a shock to the ears. It’s easily the most lush and elegantly recorded album of the 18 studio offerings she’s created thus far. There are precedents in her catalog for music that resembles this: songs with full arrangements and more complex textures and melodies to be sure, but as an album, Red Letter Year stands out clearly in the same way Dilate and Little Plastic Castles did when they were released. Part of the reason for these new musical directions is perhaps her relocation to New Orleans from Buffalo and the building of her own studio there with producer and life partner Mike Napolitano. Another undeniable dimension here is motherhood. DiFranco is not given to giddy sentiment, but the presence of new life is obvious here. Her guests are wildly varied: a string quartet that boasts violinist Jenny Scheinman, guitarist C.C. Adcock, and the Rebirth Brass Band. DiFranco’s now trademark style of rhythmic acoustic fingerpicking is largely absent, but it’s not missed. It appears selectively on “Present/Infant,” “Star Matter,” and “The Atom.” The album~opening title track is a beautiful hint of what’s to come, its slippery horns, Todd Sickafoose’s sparse but percussive bassline, and Mike Dillon’s marimba pointing the various directions the tune takes from angular pop song to elegiac requiem. The song, in typical DiFranco fashion, wraps up personal reminiscences with political thought, from New Year’s Eve dropping mushrooms to a man with a monkey for a face representing the white race while flying over in a helicopter. “Alla This” is a melodically complex anthemic statement of resistance and purpose; the strings are particularly effective playing repetitive phrases, heightening tension and dynamics until Ani defuses them with her electric guitar. The tune is a squall but a deeply musical one, with a hint of a metal riff in the vamp at the beginning.
♣√♣ “Present/Infant” reclaims familiar ground with her acoustic, her plaintive~voiced narrative, and some gorgeous percussion work from Dillon’s vibraphone and Allison Miller’s killer breaks on the drum kit. The hand percussion on “Smiling Underneath” is a beautifully unsentimental way to execute a love song. In essence, the set feels more like a very sophisticated song cycle, and very much an album. The sophisticated arrangements treat DiFranco’s voice as another instrument in the mix, but her lyrics come through with perhaps even more force and power as a result. Other notable cuts are the electronic New Orleans funk clash in “Emancipated Minor,” the angular “Good Luck,” and the jazzy trio on “Round a Pole,” featuring DiFranco on Wurlitzer and a skeletal synth, Sickafoose on upright bass, and Miller’s painterly brushwork. ♣√♣ Ultimately, Red Letter Year is simply more proof that this prolific artist is no less creative and innovative for being so. On the one hand, she is a long way from the folkie in punk’s clothing who recorded her self~titled debut and Not So Soft armed with only her acoustic guitar. On the other, this album contains the sum total of the persona that she has consistently and stubbornly given expression to all the while. Red Letter Year will immediately resonate with fans, but it’s time for those who either got off the boat or never got it to take another listen. It is among DiFranco’s best records, and along with Sam Phillips’ Don’t Do Anything, one of the only singer/songwriter albums to really push the envelope in new directions in 2008. • http://www.allmusic.com/
♣√♣ http://www.righteousbabe.com/ ♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣♣√♣
|Ani DiFranco||Red Letter Year|