Expressions Trace A Template of Loss in Kalispell’s Printer’s Son

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Kalispell on the turntable, as The Multiple Cat looks on.

Kalispell is the side-project from Shane Leonard who, among other projects, is part of Field Report. He just released his second album under the Kalispell band name on Davenport, IA label Cartouche Records — home of recent releases by The Multiple Cat, Land of Blood and Sunshine, Brooks Strause, J.E. Sunde, and Daytrotter.com illustrator Johnnie Cluney’s band Bedroom Shrine. Fantastic releases all, and you should check them out, and be on the lookout from releases by Devin Frank (of Poison Control Center) and Chrash in July.

Printer’s Son is one of those rare records that is so completely imagined and executed that when you first listen to it, it seems to drop unexpectedly out of the ether. It’s a record that defies any convenient genre classification. Elements of ambience and folk and jazz come together to help deliver a grippingly emotional and personal album. The album reminds me another album that slips from the grasp of genre: David Sylvian’s 1987 landmark solo record Secrets of the Beehive. For his second release Sylvian took another step away from the New Wave-ish synthpop of his band Japan. He enlisted some Jazz artists including Ryuki Sakamoto and Mark Isham which gave that album a delicate ambience. Printer’s Son carries a similar jazz folk vibe. Additionally, the dry production of Leonard’s vocals suit the intimacy of the album.

Printer’s Son owes some of its woody atmospherics to the fact that it was partially recorded at Justin Vernon’s April Base Studios and was engineered and co-produced by Brian Joseph, who was on the boards for Bon Iver’s 2012 Grammy-winning album. Bon Iver is another album that similarly made beautiful soundscapes out of impressionistic personal stories and accounts. Leonard takes recent painful events and uses them as the basis for Printer’s Son. He talks about this on The Current show Radio Heartland:

I had this wildly unforseen year of just this radical change. I thought I had my path pretty set– music was going well and I was living in Chicago. All within this year, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and his passing forced me– ultimately I think in a really important and helpful way even though very difficult– to reconsider a lot of assumptions I had. And, right after he passed our family dog died and then my dad’s father also passed. It was all at the same time and I was moving and also moving away from a relationship that I had been in a long time. So, it was like the world got turned over and then I just started thinking differently as a symptom of that.

Some albums have stories that we can identify with.  On Printer’s Son, I feel the sentiments, the memories, the connections. Leonard tells his stories and like a good book or film, they become part of the listener’s own fabric. I can picture that canyon climb with the banded walls in “Windfall.” I feel the ghost itch from the overgrowth scratching skin on the fading road in “Parting Ground.”

David Sylvian’s Secrets of the Beehive has become part of my permanent soundtrack. I feel that Kalispell’s timeless tapestry of folk and jazz in Printer’s Son is destined to be another album that I will hold onto.

Listen to Printer’s Son below and be sure to order yourself a copy from Cartouche.

Codfish Hollow Kicks off the 2013 Season with Bern in the Barn on May 4th

Bern in the Barn

The winter had overstayed its welcome in Eastern Iowa this year and with the frost finally succeeding and the bulbs pushing their greens up in anticipation of flowering, we can finally (hopefully) start looking forward to Spring and Summer and to the recent announcement by Codfish Hollow of the first show in the barn this year!

Last year we saw two really amazing events in the Codfish Hollow Barn stage even without an official Daytrotter Barnstormer show. July 4th brought  a mind-melting and body-dehydrating appearance by Counting Crows and their touring Outlaw Roadshow lineup for what would certainly be for the 650 people who saw it the best show they’ve ever seen. The laid-back and mellow atmosphere seemed to coax a normally grouchy Duritz to hang out with people outside the venue and pose for pictures and pause for autographs. The show inside the barn was electric and even with the failure of the stage electric fans the bands sweated their way through their sets and Counting Crows put forth an unprecedented 3 hours on stage! Codfish Hollow then put all their political chips on support of the Democratic Party with a chilly October show featuring a lineup headlined by Pieta Brown and Dave Zollo and the Body Electric.

On May 4th (May the Fourth Be With You!) Codfish Hollow returns with a show featuring Dan Bern! Called amusingly enough, “Bern in the Barn” the lineup also features Outlaw Roadshow veteran Field Report as a solo performance by Christopher Porterfield, 2013 Outlaw Roadshow act Daniel and the Lion, Cincinnati band Pomegranates, Athens, GA band Twin Tigers who have a sound somewhere between Lou Reed and Sonic Youth and maybe Barnstormer alums Suckers, and Iowa City guitar popsters Chasing Shade. You should check out Chasing Shade’s song “Sunburned Bones,” BTW.

So, click on all those links above to find out what these bands are about– but it’s looking like a wonderful evening of music for a very resonable $18 in advance. There will be the regular lineup of food vendors onsite, and the scattering of fire rings to keep warm– this barn is down in a hollow for gosh’s sakes, and the sun quickly ascends the road out of there in the evening, and 10 degree temp drops are not uncommon– so pack a sweater, kids!

These shows at Codfish Hollow are always wonderful and are special shows for bands and fans alike and are really a must-see for anyone who can make it. Much  love, respect and gratitude is due Tiff and Shawn Biehl for continually bringing the magic to their barn.

The food vendors will be providing Grilled chicken sandwiches, BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, Hot dogs, Veggie dogs, Nachos and cheese, Chicken/pork nachos, Vegetarian Bean Nachos, Chips, Giant Dill pickles, Candy bars, POP- Mt.Dew Pepsi, Diet Pepsi,Sprite, Bottled water, Coolers are welcome. That means bring your own booze if you want it!

For more information, you can follow the Codfish Hollow Facebook page, and the Facebook event invitation.

To order tickets for Bern in the Barn, you can go to the Eventbrite ticket ordering page— tickets are $18 in advance and $22 at the day of the show.

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