10 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Raised in rural Massachusetts, Marissa Nadler evokes a deep, rich countryside with her straightforward acoustic folk music. Ballads of Living and Dying is her 2004 debut album and it’s a beaut. From the first strums of “Fifty Five Falls,” Nadler establishes herself as a modern-day Judy Collins. Whatever she lacks in Collins’ forthright clarity, she makes up for with a mystical aura and melodies that get under your skin. Tracks such as “Underwater,” the near wordless “Mayflower May,” the banjo-led “Days of Rum” create a world of intrigue, where it’s impossible to figure the time and place of these recordings. “Virginia” has a deep rowing motion that sounds nearly impossible for a young woman of just 23 years to attain. Ballads is an overlooked piece of sheer beauty. Unlike many of her contemporaries — such as Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart — Nadler never strays into avant-garde or freak-folk territory, preferring to play it straight. Surely, fans of Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen and Mia Doi Todd will find much to appreciate here.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Raised in rural Massachusetts, Marissa Nadler evokes a deep, rich countryside with her straightforward acoustic folk music. Ballads of Living and Dying is her 2004 debut album and it’s a beaut. From the first strums of “Fifty Five Falls,” Nadler establishes herself as a modern-day Judy Collins. Whatever she lacks in Collins’ forthright clarity, she makes up for with a mystical aura and melodies that get under your skin. Tracks such as “Underwater,” the near wordless “Mayflower May,” the banjo-led “Days of Rum” create a world of intrigue, where it’s impossible to figure the time and place of these recordings. “Virginia” has a deep rowing motion that sounds nearly impossible for a young woman of just 23 years to attain. Ballads is an overlooked piece of sheer beauty. Unlike many of her contemporaries — such as Joanna Newsom and Devendra Banhart — Nadler never strays into avant-garde or freak-folk territory, preferring to play it straight. Surely, fans of Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen and Mia Doi Todd will find much to appreciate here.

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About Marissa Nadler

American singer/songwriter Marissa Nadler blends traditional folk, Gothic Americana, and dreamy pop into an original musical framework. Raised in a small town in Massachusetts, Nadler took to painting first, a passion she continues to indulge, but the love of music drove her to become a proficient guitarist and songwriter. Nadler's compositions sound otherworldly, even timeless. Her first two albums, Ballads of Living and Dying (2004, Eclipse) and The Saga of Mayflower May (2005, Eclipse) were largely acoustic affairs that featured her mezzo-soprano voice and guitar accompanied by banjo, bells, and penny whistle. On Songs III: Bird on the Water (2007, Peacefrog, Kemado), synthesizers were used for the first time, as were strings and harp. With 2009's Little Hells, the songwriter began opening up her sound to include percussion, pianos, Wurlitzer, and standard rock instrumentation. She toured almost constantly and garnered global acclaim for her recordings and performing. In 2010, she threw fans a curve by appearing as the vocal chorus on Portal of Sorrow, from one-man black metal band Xasthur. Surprisingly, she was dropped by Kemado/Mexican Summer. Undaunted, she launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and raised the funding for her next recording.

In the early spring of 2011, Nadler released "Baby I Will Leave You in the Morning," the first single and video from the fan-funded, self-titled album; it was released in June on her Box of Cedar Records. Nadler issued a follow-up to her critically lauded eponymous album, The Sister, in the spring of 2012. Its arrangements dovetailed with those of its predecessor. Signing with Sacred Bones (distributed by Bella Union), Nadler released the album July in February of 2014, marking her first collaboration with engineer/producer Randall Dunn. The album featured studio appearances from Eyvind Kang, Phil Wandscher, and others. In 2016, she and Dunn collaborated again on Strangers. Here, Nadler stepped out from writing mostly autobiographical songs and penned more character-driven narratives. The set's first single, "Janie I Know," was issued in February. The album appeared in May. ~ James Christopher Monger

HOMETOWN
Washington, D.C.
BORN
April 5, 1981

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