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The Decemberists off-shoot band slates new CD

Monday, July 2, 2012 – The Decemberists' off-shoot Black Prairie will release its second disc in September.

Sugar Hill Records will release "A Tear in the Eye Is a Wound in the Heart..." the second album by Black Prairie, the back-porch ensemble founded by the Decemberists' Chris Funk, Nate Query and Jenny Conlee, on Sept. 18 on Sugar Hill.

Produced by Tucker Martine, "Tear in the Eye..." is the follow up to "Feast of the Hunter's Moon" and the first Black Prairie album to primarily feature vocalist Annalisa Tornfelt. Written collaboratively by all band members, the album features Tornfelt's gentle, classic country-inspired singing with Baltic-Appalachian instrumentals and orchestral interludes.

"I don't feel like there's any boundaries in this band at all," said guitarist Jon Neufeld. "All my weird songs have finally found a home in this group."

Black Prairie was formed in 2008, in the living rooms of Portland's music scene, during downtime by The Decemberists' members and their friends, Tornfelt (vocals, fiddle) and Neufeld.

"At that time, I needed a shot in the arm," said Funk, who began spending more time with the Dobro. "We're trying to keep the acoustic integrity of the acoustic aspect of it - but otherwise, it's no holds barred. With these five instruments, what can we do?"

Black Prairie has become a Portland house band and is recording a series of collaborations with singers in their hometown, the first release of which being a 7" with James Mercer of The Shins and Sallie Ford.

The group will tour this fall.

More news for Black Prairie

CD reviews for Black Prairie

Fortune CD review - Fortune
What began as an offshoot engineered by The Decemberists' inner circle has now become a full-time day job with an identity all its own. Three albums on, Black Prairie has shed most of the bluegrass trappings so evident in their original incarnation and evolved instead into a band that's no longer constrained by any predetermined identity. Clearly at ease with their current standing, the aptly titled "Fortune" reflects a general sense of confidence and no holds-barred »»»
A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart CD review - A Tear in the Eye is a Wound in the Heart
While some might describe Black Prairie as the roots music or bluegrass side project of The Decemberists' Chris Funk, Nate Query and Jenny Conlee, the music the group creates on this, their second album, is more of a film noir version of Americana music, wrapping traditional instruments with a gauzy, translucent covering that's more Mazzy Star than Gillian Welch. Credit vocalist Annalisa Tornfelt with setting much of that mood, as her smoky, distant pipes color tunes such as Little »»»
Feast of the Hunters' Moon CD review - Feast of the Hunters' Moon
Black Prairie's debut is based in many of the traditions of old time string band music, but updates and expands those conventions into something totally new. The project is comprised of three members of the popular chamber rock group, The Decemberists. Guitarist Chris Funk founded the group and plays Dobro. He also recruited Decemberists bassist Nate Query and accordion player Jenny Conlee to play along with former Bearfoot member Annalisa Tornfelt on fiddle and Doloreon's Jon Neufeld on guitar. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: The Lil Smokies provide the perfect antidote – On a night when the world to be falling further apart thanks to coronavirus (this would be the night the NBA postponed the season), there stood The Lil Smokies to at least in some small measure save the day. The quintet is part of a generation of musicians with bluegrass as the basis, but not totally the sum of the music either.... »»»
Concert Review: White makes the case for himself, no matter how dark the music – John Paul White opined with a glint in his eyes that his songs were not of the uplifting variety. In fact, they were downright dark. How else to explain "The Long Way" with the line "long way home back to you." Or "James," a song inspired by his grandfather who suffered from dementia. But lest you think that the Alabama... »»»
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