Drawn from the dark, enchanted seas off Southern New Hampshire, Clara Berry’s magical tales are intricately-woven pieces that dress themselves up differently for each new piece. Her haunting voice is yet another multicolored instrument in addition to a colorful buffet table that includes platters of pedal steel and baritone guitars, piano, bass, violins, violas, cello, percussion, trumpet, french horn, tuba and saxophone. That sounds like a cacophonous mess, but it’s not at all. It’s quite nice. Songs like “When This Mountain” and “Waltz for my Victims” are quieter and simpler, while “Air Traffic” is a fully orchestrated gem. There are many different shapes and colors, such as the dare I say avant-garde (and personal favorite) “Your Moon,” the jazzy “Boys,” the bluegrass-soaked “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” and the bluesy “Stella.” Such is the journey taken on Berry’s new album, The Magician’s Wife.
On her second full-length album, Berry, who grew up in Southern Maine, is joined by Wooldog (Joe O’Neill), a musician from Boston’s South Shore whose influences include Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) and John Zorn, which explains where the avant-jazzy stuff comes from. The album features many Lowell-area musicians arranging and recording Berry’s songs, and was recorded by Bradford Swanson (Mason Jennings, The Bad Plus) at UMass Lowell. A local effort, to be sure.
They’ll be performing tomorrow night at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, and at Church on Monday, November 20, opening for Kill Madonna and The Swindlers.
Upcoming shows: 10/21 Pete’s Candy Store, Brooklyn NY; 11/1 live at the HIVE!, Kennebunk ME; 11/20 Church of Boston, Boston MA; 11/21 The Red Door, Portsmouth NH; 12/6 Slainte, Portland, ME; 12/14 Radio Bean, Burlington VT; and 12/27 St. Elmos, Alexandria VA.
Berry’s previous releases were Wave (2008) and the Creature 5-song EP (2010).
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