Friday, August 16, 2013

Betse Ellis -- High Moon Order

Betse Ellis is a bad-ass motherfucker.

You probably wouldn't have guess she played fiddle from my telling you that. But you're going to have to listen to believe it.

She plays fiddle like a fury and her backing band is there like no tomorrow. But there was something else that stood out that took me a while to put my finger on. And I'm going to get into a lot of trouble for saying it.

Betse Ellis sings like a man.

I'm not talking about her voice -- it's as ladylike as can be. I'm talking about her delivery. I've written a few times about the differences between men and women in music. I think it stems from men and women being socialized to express themselves in different ways. For one, women aren't really supposed to demonstrative -- even in this day and age. So when most women sing, it can come off (to me) as whiny or apologetic or overly earnest, because, dammit, they're going to tell you how they feel. To me, even young Kathlee Hannah and young Ani DiFranco falls in that camp.

The obverse of this is that men are expected to be open and frank and even explosive, but they're not usually expected to process their emotions -- they're supposed to feel them and then move on. Obviously, writing -- and especially writing music -- requires you to reflect on your thoughts. So when a man sings, it can be a liberating experience. (Or they can come off as whiny or apologetic or overly earnest, because the whole thing is uncomfortable. See Linkin Park, Dashboard Confessional.)

Basically what I'm saying is that in our culture, we're not really supposed to show our feelings so it's complicated when we do. But, like many aspects of our culture, it's a generally more positive experience for men than for women.

And really what I'm saying is, Betse Ellis doesn't give a shit about what you think. She's going to tell you how she feels, whether she's singing or playing lead in an instrumental piece.

And you're going to like it, dammit.

Betse Ellis -- Official, Buy High Moon Order

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