The Folky Skins of Anna Dobbin

15 Jan

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I have a great local release from the esteemed musical borough of Brooklyn, NY for you all tonight. Skins, an intimate 9-track release from singer-songwriter Anna Dobbin, is a delightful acoustic string of melodies with jazzy instrumentation and folky overtones. Most of all, though, it is the smooth Deb Talan-like vocals (for those Weepies fans out in the musical blogosphere) from Dobbin that carries this album, and, if you are looking for a serene soundtrack to listen to on this Thursday night, you have come to the right place.

Dobbin describes the album as a palette of a great variety of songs that she, with the help of a few other musicians, weaved together into a comprehensive piece. One of the reasons I am digging this album is its utter simplicity. Aside from the eclectic bassoon, which does fit perfectly mind you, the tracks are Dobbin, some light clickity-clack of a drum set, and the familiar sound of a comely acoustic guitar that is strummed creatively. Interspersed throughout the album is some lead guitar and keys, but it is done so tastefully that it does not shake the placidness the listener feels while first hearing this album.

Let’s take a listen to “The Trouble I Could Cause,” a quintessential Dobbin track (as my description above portrays). The song begins with a lightly strummed acoustic guitar next to flicked drum beat. Dobbin’s voice is filled with a blissful pulchritude that, while tranquil, still sounds worn. This piece specifically features some vocal layering that adds an echoing effect to the sound adding to the song’s power. The orchestral quality provided by the bassoon is refreshing and different; one might not think it would work, but just take one listen and you can hear how it does indeed help the song.

Another track that caught my attention on the album is a duet named “So Long” (co-producer and vocalist Austin Greenfield can be heard singing verses on the track). The acoustic features a segmented strumming pattern and trading vocals. It is as if Josh Radin or Peter Bradley Adams combined with JayMay or Ingrid Michaelson and the output was this piece. All in all, it is a pleasant song with consistently good vocals – controlled and calm.

Nice going! Listen to the rest of the album.  

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