Secret City Records will release Basia Bulat’s long-awaited third album, Tall Tall Shadow on October 1st. Co-produced with Grammy-winning engineer Mark Lawson and Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury, Tall Tall Shadow marks something of a departure from her earlier work. “This time around I felt braver,” Basia says, “I wanted to play with electric and electronic sounds, exploring the boundaries of the folk music some people know me for.”
Tall Tall Shadow follows 2007’s Polaris-nominated debut, Oh, My Darling, and her Juno-nominated 2010 album Heart of My Own, which was praised by NPR for its focus on her “unwavering voice, a single powerful element.” Tall Tall Shadow is inspired in equal parts by tragic loss and abundant joy. “Writing songs,” she says, “I've been trying to just get out of my own way - just trying to be truthful with myself about the kind of thoughts and feelings that are coming up.”
In the studio, Bulat says, “I wanted a challenge … something different,” which her co-producers helped to provide. “Mark hears things in my songs that surprise me,” she says, adding “Tim’s my good luck charm; he can play almost anything and everything, and my best vocal takes happen whenever he’s in the room.”
Basia has garnered great critical acclaim over the years; SPIN praises the singer’s “bright harmonies and … resonant alto voice” while Pitchfork praises her “rare, extraordinary voice.” She has toured in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia sharing the stage with artists including Andrew Bird, St Vincent, Beirut, tUnE-yArDs, Arcade Fire and Nick Cave. She has collaborated with Owen Pallett, who created orchestral arrangements of a selection of Basia’s songs that have been performed by many Canadian orchestras. Basia has also been invited in recent years to aid in feting Canadian legends Leonard Cohen (Glenn Gould Prize, 2012) and Daniel Lanois (Governor General’s Award, 2013).
Lanois’ song Shine was performed as a duet with Canadian songstress Bulat that highlighted the differences between his tentative vocals and her siren-like wail of assurance.
Becoming The Barr Brothers, A Band Of Friends And Neighbors
"The results might rankle the odd folk purist, but they speak for themselves: Tall Tall Shadow, a record haunted by the recent passing of a good friend, is Bulat’s best and most distinctive work yet. Comparisons to the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neko Case and Sandy Denny can still be made, yes, but you can hear her truly finding her own voice here."
National Post Sessions invites musicians to perform stripped-down versions of their hits or favourite songs. This week, Basia Bulat performs Tall Tall Shadow.
Steven Himmelfarb (Billions)
Kalle Lundgren (Pitch & Smith Agency)
David T. Viecelli (Billions)
Magali Ould (Secret City Records)
Nathalie Ridard (Éphélide)
Hannah gould (Hannah Gould Music PR)
Krista Williams (Sacks & Co)
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