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Album Review: Deer in the Night | Po' Girl


Po Girl Deer in the NightPo’ Girl
Deer in the Night
www.pogirl.net
[audio:http://www.pogirl.net/deer/deer.mp3]

Canada is, like, this whole other country. They apparently are secretly responsible for about half of the music we think of as American. Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen? All Canadian. Comes now Po’Girl–two women, Awna Texeira, and Allison Russell, one Torontonian, one Quebecois–sneaking across at Windsor, Ontario, to conquer us all over again. They’ll be at the Mill March 4th. Be sure and make them show their passports.

For all their sneaky, English-speaking foreignness, I think these women are exactly the sort of music that fits perfectly in Iowa City. The banjo and accordion and minimal drum kit would go down great with Will Whitmore and the Escape The Floodwater Jugband. They write sweet songs that fit their voices like old clothes too, and their unruly dueling vibratos recall their fellow countrywomen Kate and Anna McGarrigle. But while they’re acoustic folkies in the broadest sense, what intrigues me about their sound is that they’re much odder and more interesting than that. Touches of jazz idiosyncrasy in their their vocal lines, echoes of French chanson, hints of the deliciously odd Nova Scotian folk, all mix together into an organic whole.

What makes this CD special is their unique approach to vocal harmony. Their voices always add up, but each singer’s natural rhythm is different, so they sound perfectly together and ready to fall apart at the same time. One has husky voice with reedy overtones, one has the edgy sweetness of Emmy Lou Harris. All joking about Canada aside (and who can resist that?), Po’Girls is rough and smooth, sweet and tart, and would be huge stars in that super-cool alternate universe I’ve always wanted to live in. And, they sent me a picture postcard of Ontario, how cool is that?


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