Dangerous Fruit takes folk in a new direction

April 17, 2009

Folk music is usually pretty traditional. Last week, I made it to Tracy Grammer’s show in The Dalles. This was a very traditional show, I must say. One person, one guitar, one mic. There were lot’s of personal stories, including stories about touring with Joan Baez (a major-folkie), intertwined with 3 chord songs. That show certainly represented one version of the folk genre.

OK, now for something different. Songwriter Stephanie Schneiderman will be in town the end of this week. She’s a full time musician, touching on the folk, roots, Americana and singer songwriter genres. You may also know her from her work with Portland’s Dirty Martini.

I believe the last time I saw Stephanie, in fact, was at a folk festival. Back in 2006, in Stevenson. Attendance was pretty light, but it was still a pleasant day. Anyway, there was some amazing Irish music, and lots of other good talent. My own band had fun. I remember the sound engineer sat off to the side on the stage to watch us. Stephanie’s set was right in with the traditional folk sound, too.

Now, here’s the different part. Stephanie’s new album, “Dangerous Fruit,” is still Stephanie. But this time we’re adding a whole genre of electronica. Think processed loops, ambient noise, synthesizers, textures and lots of breathy vocals. I believe my ears did detect some guitar.

I gave the new CD a listen in the car last week – and it’s definitely what I would call a “rainy day” CD – you need some overcast skies or at least a really good crisis to ponder while you’re listening to this one. This CD definitely sets kind of a funky mood, and this continues throughout the disc. The last two or three songs perk up a little bit, but there wasn’t a lot of what I’d call “variety” to this project. But if you’re ready for some tunes that make you feel like you’re just hanging out in the club, this will work for you.

So, is this still folk music? Will it work for the CEBU Lounge crowd?

I’m just hoping that it’s going to be possible to hear the guitar above the ambient noise.

Read Jim’s interview with Stephanie here.

Interview with Stephanie Schneiderman:

1. You've been a solo artist and a member of several bands. Is there one mode you like better than the other?

I get different things from each. There's certainly a freedom when you're solo, you're not glued to any arrangement in relation to anyone else. But you also have no one else to feed off of for vibe or energy. I really love the new sound. I just released a new CD produced by electronic producer, Keith Schreiner. So the tracks are full of textures from his world of trip-hop but still wrap around my songs in a really soulful way.

2. Is your set list all original songs?

Mostly, we do a Tom Waits cover and we cover one song from a local artist named Pete Krebs. The rest are original.

3. The new CD is described in part as "trip-hop". What is that?

Still trying to figure that out as well. It's a broad term that's probably overused. But as it applies to the new CD, I'd describe it as ambient, electronic, w/ down-tempo grooves that are soulful, dark and sexy.

4. Who's currently on your iPod?

Annie Lennox's Dark Road, Bon Iver, Jose Gonzales

5. What's the songwriting process for you - is it words first or music first?

It happens both ways, actually. Sometimes I get a melody first and I use words that I'm writing (or have already written) to wrap around that melody. The best cast scenario is when the song writes itself and I just have to get out of the way and follow it.

6. Is music your full-time thing? What advice do you have for someone who wants it to be?

Yes it's full time. I think you have to be versatile to make it as a full time musician. But I think that goes for any industry these days.

Especially with music, until you have enough momentum built to attract the right team (of management, publicist, lawyer, booking agent), you have to be willing to do it all, manage it all. It can get overwhelming and it's hard to keep the balance of keeping the poet alive enough to write music, but also keep the business side going... It's a constant trade b/w halves of the brain.

Stephanie Scheiderman will be at the CEBU Lounge on Friday, April 10.

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