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A Tear In the Eye Is a Wound In the Heart

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For Black Prairie's second album, the five-piece (which features three members of The Decemberists) puts singer Annalisa Tornfelt upfront, transforming the group from the largely instrumental band of its debut album, Feast of the Hunter's Moon, into a quintet that does it all. Instrumentals such as "For the Love of John Hartford," "Dirty River Stomp," and "Evil Leaves" maintain their rustic appeal, ranging from bluegrass to Eastern European folk. Tornfelt, however, extends Black Prairie's folk appeal back to its gospel reaches with the monumental "Rock of Ages" and pays tribute to one of Americana's most-missed practitioners with "Richard Manuel." Chris Funk's dobro, Jenny Conlee's accordion, and Tornfelt's fiddle lend the group a rootsy appeal. Yet "Nowhere, Massachusetts" rhythmically flows as smoothly as the Southern California edition of Fleetwood Mac, while "Lay Me Down in Tennessee," "Winter Wind," and "Little Song Bird" evoke the feel of the Appalachian mountains and their timeless appeal. 


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Portland's Black Prairie began in 2007 when Decemberists guitarist Chris Funk, having discovered the joys of the Dobro guitar, and Decemberists bassist Nate Query decided to start a mostly instrumental and acoustic string band as a side project. They enlisted another Decemberists member, Jenny Conlee, on accordion, and added two other veteran Portland musicians from popular local bands, guitarist and songwriter Jon Neufield, who played in Dolorean and Jackstraw, and singer and violinist Annalisa...
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A Tear In the Eye Is a Wound In the Heart, Black Prairie
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