Contemporary artist alters familiar tunes
Posted August 23, 2011 at 10:13 pm in Lifestyle
Everyone knows the classic pop tune by The Cars, âJust What I Needed,â a song that served as an anthem for adolescents experiencing their first love.
Perhaps this is why Boston-native Kris Delmhorst altered the infectious rock/pop hit into a quirky melody of pure folk and fun. Indulging in the tenderness of her childhood, Delmhorst did not stop there. Rather, Delmhorst released her new album, Cars, on Aug. 16 as an eccentric tribute to the band, covering 11 of the groupâs most well known songs.
Delmhorst is a natural alto vocalist, a skilled fiddle and guitar player and happens to have a quirky sense of music. Her previous five albums earned her praise for her textured voice and two nominations as outstanding female singer/songwriter at the Boston Music Awards.
In Cars, Delmhorstâs contagious vibrato, reminiscent of indie singer/songwriter Feist, deviates from the original pop ambience of The Cars. The Massachusetts local uses only the original arrangement and tempo of each song, replacing the techno sounds with an acoustic adaptation.
A synth, fiddle, organ and even some glockenspiel accompany Delmhorstâs vocals and cello solos, creating a unique sound for Delmhorst, as the point of the album is not to be comparable to that of The Carsâ indigenous sound but to develop a playful spirit suiting her folk genre.
The first track on Cars is the tune âYou Might Think,â which has a melody so suited for Delmhorstâs voice it is hard to believe it was first sung by male artist Ric Ocasek. Having given the song a contemporary make-over, Delmhorst uses a fiddle and her wispy alto to reinvent the tune and make it an inevitable single.
This maternal figure indulges in her liberty of recording the pop single âMagicâ as a beautifully constructed ballad with effortless vocals and a steady acoustic beat. The song, originally sung by The Cars, is sure to be recalled once one hears it; however, Delmhorst makes it seemingly unrecognizable â but in a positive sense. Her androgynous pitch and sedate tempo in this track allow lyrics such as How far can you take it âtill you realize thereâs magic in your eyes, to be appreciated poetically.
Her tune âTonight She Comesâ takes on a slightly Celtic feel, different from the usual techno sounds that are characteristic of The Cars. She hones in on the ideal harmonies of the latter, paying tribute to the original work while simultaneously establishing itself as its own progressive work.
Though the perfectly pitched and eclectically tuned voice of Delmhorst is the center of the album, much credit should be attributed to the accompanying musicians. In âMy Best Friendâs Girl,â a killer electric guitar solo brings to memory the rock-beat The Cars first possessed.
More impressively, original keyboard player of The Cars, Greg Hawkes, assists in the acoustics with his ukulele. Her remaining musicians deserve much praise, especially considering their reinforcement of mandolins, harmonicas and accordions for the foot-tapping folk sensation present throughout the albumâs entirety.
Though a seemingly underground performer, Delmhorst is an accomplished female musician of undeniable skill. Taking on the weightless lyrics of a former â80s pop band, this folk singer combined impressive acoustic instrumentals with her folk style as a contemporary reinterpretation.
Even if country folk music is not your preference, Delmhorst can perhaps change your mind with this enticing new album. Check out Delmhorstâs recently released album Cars on her site krisdelmohrst.com for a blast from the past that contains a quirky, modern twist.