AWNA TEIXEIRA – Wild One (Self Released ART 002)

Wild OnePo’Girl still on hiatus, Teixeira continues her solo path with a second album that showcases her backporch bluegrass with her prowess on banjo, accordion (heard to gorgeous effect on the gathering swell of ‘A Sailor’s Dream’) and ukulele among countless other instruments as well as adding new dimensions to her sound. Case in point being album opener, ‘The Light In You’, on which a resonant Omnichord provides the introduction and continuing drone over which she sings the brief lyrics and fingers hesitant piano before the track shades into ‘Blue Heart on Your Sleeve’, the lilting melody and light, trebly vocals belying the subject matter dealing with her grandmother’s lifetime struggle with mental illness. Indeed, with many of the songs referencing or inspired by others in her life with the same problem, as well as her own battle with depression, the album is intended to raise mental health awareness.

As titles like the percussion and piano led ‘Bees And Things’, the ukulele-driven ‘Little Ghost of a Whale’, the acoustic fragility of ‘Yellow Moon’ and the swamp-moody ‘Thunderbird’ (one of two numbers taken from the titular EP) with its whistling and oohing, nature imagery (drawn from the Utah landscape) looms large in the metaphorical lyrics.

Her high pitched voice might be an acquired taste for some, but the emotion and beauty within her delivery (complemented by harmonies from ‘Oh Susanna’) and songs like the simple acoustic restless spirit title track or the organ-backed lullabying ‘Freedom Hunter’ is hard to deny or resist.

There’s one number here for which she didn’t write all the lyrics, parts of the strumalong ‘In The Wintertime’ are taken from the wisdom and proverbs of the First Nation, reinforcing the affinity with nature as well as, musically, suggesting one with fellow Canadian Neil Young. It is, of course, to be lamented that Po’Girl seem to be no more (even the band web site is defunct while the Facebook page is a mix of individual news from Teixeira and Alison Russell’s Birds of Chicago project), but if it means more albums like this then clearly every cloud has a silver lining.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website:

‘A Sailor’s Dream’ – official video: