I was immediately struck by Texas singer Kim Nall's silver tongue and barbed pen. Nall borrows the title of her band's debut album from an Allen Ginsburg poem, but Lay Your Vision Down is as earthy as they come. Nall describes herself as having a "dark turn of mind," and while these songs have a brooding edge to them, they're not murder-serious the way gothic Americana tends to be. In fact, Nall's fluidity with words and the Fringe's loose energy make Lay Your Vision Down as enjoyable as it is thought-provoking.
For me the emotional peak of this album is the juxtaposition of "Cat & Bird," a slinky song that is truly seductive with a clever guitar solo by Matt Shasteen. Nall croons to her listener, inviting us to abandon our security to join her:
Leave behind your bed of feathers
Leave behind your house of leaves
Leave behind your mother’s singing
Come and sit and sing with me
The song is immediately followed by "Juliet," a fragile song bemoaning the loss of...I don't want to say innocence, but perhaps the optimism one feels about love before they're actually in the position ot have one's heart broken or break one's heart:
I used to be Juliet
Mine were perfect hands for holding and I had no word for regret
Every day I’d write a song for a lover I’d not met
Oh, I used to be Juliet
This is a difficult strand of Americana to do well, but Nall and the Fringe do it all right. I urge you to give it a listen.
Kim Nall and the Fringe -- Official, Facebook, Bandcamp