Today’s exploration into the world of online folk rock brings us to my, mmm, probably monthly prowling on GarageBand, accessible at http://www.garageband.com. Hesitant to start digging into GarageBand at first because of a friend who warned me of its potentially time-consuming layout in the early days of its existence (“It’s hard to sort stuff out, and a lot of it is really poor quality”), I think GarageBand has come a long way since its conception, and I enjoy using it now. Granted, I’m more biased than I once was because several of my friends have posted music on it now (you know who you are and yes, you rock my GarageBand world), but honestly, with the advances in home recording in the past few years, and the growing prevalence of musicians who’ve gotten started in their own bedrooms and basements, I think there is quite a bit of worthwhile stuff to be found there.
Case in point, I’d like to introduce you to Sue Merchant http://www.suemerchant.net , a folk singer from England who I “stumbled upon” via GarageBand.
In classic “chicken or the egg” fashion, I found Sue Merchant’s name through iLike and then took that to the great and powerful Google for more information. Google brought me to her homepage and, more importantly, to her GarageBand site, accessible at http://www.garageband.com/artist/suemerchant. Through GarageBand, you can download no fewer than a dozen of her tracks, all professionally recorded and with great download quality. Since first discovering her, I’ve burned several of her tracks to different mixtapes and had no trouble with them retaining their sound, as sometimes happens with stuff one finds online, so I have no complaints anyway. Without further ado, here are a couple of the tracks that I’ve found worthy of repeat listen:
Being from Virginia, I have a certain connection with “Virginia in the Fall” that others may not immediately feel, but it’s more about the longing for home and wanting to indulge the attachment one has to a certain place and time. The line “packing up my things and throwin’ caution to the wind/ damned if I know what it’s all been for” really sums up, for me, that desire to just go, the urge to get up and leave whatever is holding you back from being where who you are and where you want to be and finding the space where you are most at ease and most at home.
“Fool” on the other hand, is much more poignant and fills the whole “sad lyrical story” aspect of folk music. If anyone had ever asked me if I would one day enjoy a song about domestic violence, I would’ve had to say no, but if nothing else, I think the guitar work is lovely and makes it worth the listen. “Vignette from the Edge” is somewhat similar in its contemplative, somewhat melancholy nature, but the back-up vocals are quite pretty and a little haunting, and again, the guitar is a presence in and of itself and should be appreciated as such.