Ah, the power of YouTube. I was cruising the web a few months back and stumbled upon a video of Thao Nguyen singing her then most recent single, the hand-clapping, foot-stomping, beat-boxing BAG OF HAMMERS. I was pleasantly stung. So, after pulling up all of her other videos and giving them a listen, I bought the CD, WE BRAVE BEE STINGS AND ALL. Take my word, this is an album that you will want to listen to from beginning to end. From the opening chords of BEAT (HEALTH, LIFE AND FIRE), to the closing strains of WE GO, Thao's quirky, original voice, offbeat lyrics and bouncy, diversified melodies will grab your attention and keep it. Her Virginia based roots clearly show through her use of banjo, mandolin and other 'folk music' related instruments. People have labeled Thao an "indie-rock" artist. I have no idea what 'indie rock' means. Back in the 1960's we would've called this "folk-rock". But, like many of the great artists of that bygone era, it's dangerous to try and pigeon-hole...
I stumbled upon this album (and Thao's music) by accident, and after many, many listens later I feel like I found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The lyrics are poignant and witty and sometimes silly, and the music is always outstanding. You might not get it the first listen through, but after the second time when chords are stuck in your head, you'll understand why there are so many passionate fans.
Songs here for the soul, the spirit, the heart, the feet, the funny-bone. Beauty, genius and not a hair of filler in the whole album. If I go deaf I may now consider just leaving. It's a privilege to be invited into the world of this music, thank you Thao. Get the gift.
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