Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Tristen & The Charlatans At The Gate
With a flair for the dramatic and a sound that harks back to vintage country and girl group pop Tristen is yet another artist who has redefined what it means to be a singer songwriter. While her album, Charlatans At The Garden Gate is clearly focused on her, the album itself is far richer than just girl with a guitar and some backing instrumentation. In fact, Tristen sounds something like Zooey Deschanel if she lived in Nashville, Tennessee and was raised on a steady diet of Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton records. \
Charlatans At The Garden Gate is a classic sounding record that had I not read it myself would have believed it was from a much earlier time. With a certain rustic backwoods feel and production to match the record is packed with homey textures, pastoral scenes, and simple hooks. It's all very folksy kind of stuff that's sweet, adorable, and very listenable. While this is undoubtedly the solo project of Tristen, she allows her band to shine throughout the recording and their flourishes, instrumental touches, and homespun melodies really help to flush out Charlatans At The Garden Gate. In fact, I think it's safe to say that a lot of what makes Charlatans At The Garden Gate tolerable is the fact that her band has a pop sensibility about it and the ability to be creative throughout the record.
Tristen has come up with a poignant and fascinating record that is at no loss for ideas and unique approaches to making folk listenable. Charlatans At The Garden Gate is a breathtaking, well rounded, and rural record that's well worth a listen or three. From the lilting arrangements to the dramatic strummy guitars, and the twangy nearly heartbroken vocals Charlatans At The Garden Gate is the kind of folk record it's ok to like. And for me to say that...it must be good.