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Hem
RABBIT SONGS
(BAR NONE)

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Sally Ellyson auditioned for this NYC-based Americana collective by singing a lullaby into an answering machine ó which is fitting when you consider how often Hemís songs evoke the dreamy torpor of that limbo between sleep and wakefulness. Alone, Ellysonís voice is an ethereal instrument, but when itís framed by a plucked mandolin, a music-box-delicate glockenspiel, drunken whorls of violin, or the ebb and flow of pedal steel, the effect is narcotizing. Encompassing stark a cappella soliloquies (the exquisite unadorned cadences of the traditional "Lord Blow the Moon Out Please"), minimal instrumentals ("Waltz," a sepia-toned aural photo), and fully orchestrated set pieces ("Sailor," where Ellysonís vocals bob above the undulating rhythms of a muted piano and strings drift like clouds across a midnight-blue sky), this disc is full of quiet interweaving melodies that are elegant, eloquent, and anodyne. Its gossamer harmonies evoke a pastoral yesteryear that was simpler, more beautiful. Some will say that past never existed. But for the length of Rabbit Songs, it does.

BY MIKE MILIARD

Issue Date: September 5 - 12, 2002
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