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February 2015
The Harmaleighs
""Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush"
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College pals  Haley Grant and  Kaylee Jasperson bonded over shared musical tastes as students at Belmont University, . They were both also familiar with the hardships possessing the voices of angels; it was inevitable that a musical project would come of the union. The Harmaleighs formed in 2013, and the two proceeded to develop their sound, learning how to filter their shared experiences through an Americana sieve, until every heartbreak and setback sounded as though it occurred decades ago somewhere in the Appalachians.

 

The Harmaleigh's debut album, "Pretty Picture, Dirty Brush" will be released February 3rd. It covers the gauntlet of relationships that a young adult can encounter: partners, friends, hometowns. It also showcases the pair as the crackerjack musicians that they are. The same razor-sharp tightness that makes bluegrass so satisfying to hear is present in the entire album. Everything rings out as clear as a bell, and nothing is overdone or unnecessary. The girls have a healthy respect for the traditional, and can whip out a down-home rhythm as easily as a teenaged missive on heartbreak.  

 

Speaking of teenaged missives, a delicate balance is at work here. There are moments that the pair hit Watson Twin-levels of harmonies (like the ghostly intro of opening track "Hesitate") and there are times they turn right around with something more juvenille like "Got fired for dropping a glass of wine/ screw it I'm running out of time," in their recent single, "I Keep Ticking On." There's alot that can go wrong: their music acoustic guitar driven, with some lap steel and banjo thrown in, and they have a propensity to break into foot-stomping jags that recall the receding arena-folk wave. But it doesn’t matter. They’re so good, by grace of their conviction and clarity, that I’d probably be sucking this album down and singing along even if I were a 50-year-old truck driver.

 

That's the appeal of "Pretty Picture..." The album concentrates being young and new into something potent and delivers it with a little bit of sass; that's a combination capable of crossing quite a few boundaries. It's the emotional equivalent of four seasons of summer camp, thirty friendship bracelets, or ten viewings of "Milo and Otis." This album is bound to strike a chord within the most jaded of bastards. Keep up with The Harmaleighs at their website www.theharmaleighs.com


This is a preview of the new Deli charts - we are working on finalizing them by the end of 2013.


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A Night of Neo-Soul With Brownish Black

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Given the somewhat challenging position of filling an empty dance floor with Portlanders who just finished a workweek, Brownish Black brought their high energy and infectious rhythms to the opening slot Friday night at the eclectic (read underrated) Star Theater. Seattle based psyche-afro-funk outfit Polyrhythmics were headliners.

Playing a mix of music from their previous EP’s as well new material Brownish Black sounded tight throughout. Performing new single “Life Lessons” lead singer M.D. Sharbatz was vocally strong although slightly distracted by the harsh lighting directed on stage. During a mid-set exit, Sharbatz returned with a black cap covering his eyes, which provided reprieve but perhaps distanced himself from the audience. While a stoic looking horn section successfully focused on taking care of business the bongo/conga player was focused on starting a party. The show continued, the floor filled, and the crowd released their weekday worries. Incorporating a cover of Portland’s very own Exploding Hearts “I’m a Pretender” along with a Brownish original entitled “Rock n Roll” as a tribute to blues legend BB King (who passed away that day) the second half of their set was climatic and cathartic.

It would be difficult not to mention the lack of female lead singer Mz. V (Vicki Porter), a once integral member and wonderful counterpart to Sharbatz’ vocals and energy, who recently left the band for other pursuits. While Porter is featured on the new album she certainly will be missed and the band is planning rotating guest appearances as they move forward with their first full-length release next month under Breakup Records.

With a charismatic, feel-good, neo soul sound Brownish Black have the talent, energy, and possible ambition to grow beyond Portland and the Northwest.

See them for their record release of Life Lessons at the Goodfoot Lounge on June 11.

-Greg LeMieux

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