CD Review: W.O.W. Live Babes!


This album is a little bit hard to get a hold of, but it's so worth it. It's one my all-time faves, and is the first in a series of all-times faves I am going to review here.

Babes with Axes is a (former, unfortunately) band from Eugene, Oregon. It is comprised of four independent artists, Debbie Dietrich, Katie Henry, T.R. Kelley, and Laura Kemp, each of whom also performed (performs) solo. The album a live recording, done at the infamous (at least if you are me) University of Oregon W.O.W. Hall. The group performs each artist's solo songs together, with them all doing vocals and playing guitars and various other instruments. It's pretty straight up folk, but it's simply, beautifully done.

My favorite tracks are generally the ones written and led by Laura Kemp, who also has great solo records (as do the other artists--the only one I don't have is Katie Henry's). I am particularly enamored with the album's opening track, "I Know, You Know." Other favorites include another one of Laura's, "The Rootless Way," Debbie Dietrich's "The Road from Me to You," and T.R. Kelley's funny and telling "Downwardly Mobile (aka Government Cheese)," which I know I've mentioned here before.

These are basic folk songs--simple guitar melodies, beautiful lyrics, lovely singing. They are about relationships, about loss, about being far away from the people you love, about being a woman. Very salt of the earth. Highly recommended.

"I just put my plants into the ground/I was tired of always lugging them around/When I open up my eyes/I could not see a blue sky/I've got everyone I love so far away/And if I had the antidote/If I knew the cure/I'd be the first to change this rootless way/I'd be coaxing you to stay." -Laura Kemp, "The Rootless Way"

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April 2012

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