Although Bearfoot has nine years, major festivals, and three albums under their belt, Doors and Windows contains many firsts. This is the first Bearfoot CD to feature guest musicians, in this case Andrea Zonn of James Taylor And Band (fiddle), Andy Hall of The Infamous Stringdusters (dobro), Alison Brown (banjo) and Larry Atamanuik, whose drums also represent another Bearfoot first. The band, all of whom sing, have also elected to rely more on a lead singer approach, with newest member Odessa Jorgensen taking charge of the vocals. California-born fiddle player and vocalist Jorgensen, formerly a member of The Biscuit Burners, joined Bearfoot in September 2008.
Produced by Compass Records' Garry West, Doors and Windows is made up of eleven gorgeous songs steeped in the bluegrass music tradition but unafraid to befriend other genres. The opening song, 'Oh My Love' has a gentle, rolling melody that speaks to the freedom of loving without fear and is the perfect lead-up and juxtaposition to the toe-tapping traditional, 'Single Girl'. Bearfoot proves less-is-more on the old-timey inspired 'Caroline' (written by former member Annalisa Tornfelt) and their show-stopping a cappella original 'Good in The Kitchen'. The title track, penned by Jorgensen and featuring hypnotic guitar and fiddle underpinnings, is darkly evocative musical poetry. Bearfoot tackles their first pop cover with a laidback version of The Beatles' 'Don't Let Me Down'.
'Overall, I think this album is more collaborative,' says Hamre. 'In the past it's always been 'we have to have a fiddle break, and a mandolin break, and another fiddle break', but this time it's more about the sound as a band than it is about individual solos. 'I think that what's really cool about this album is that it captures our energy and when you listen to it, you want to move,' muses Norris. 'I don't know if I can say that about what we've done previously; every song is like that. It's physically lifting.' Collaborative, uplifting, energetic, haunting, beautiful, inspired: all words that anyone should feel comfortable with while describing the sound of Bearfoot.
With the release of Doors and Windows, Bearfoot will again find themselves atop a cultural mountain where they overlook the past, present, and future of bluegrass music.
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Yummy Alaskan bluegrass!
Acousticgal | 04/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered Bearfoot after seeing them open up for The Saw Doctors this March & I am in completely in love with this band. They're all in their mid-20s, gorgeous, elusive, crazy-good pickers, & from Alaska. Nice to see Alaska produce something positive in 09. ;)
My favorite songs are "Oh My Love"(you can feel the water and taste the salt when Odessa (lead singer) sings the line "I will take you to the sea and wash away apart of me"), and their cover of The Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down". I know, I know - Beatles covers make me roll my eyes too, but give this one a shot. Promise - the way they lean into the vocals....you'll melt. Bearfoot's playing at Webster Hall in NYC on April 30 - come hang!"
Bearfoot Continues To Beguile!
Sound/Word Enthusiast | Rhode Island, USA | 04/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"...I've been following Bearfoot for a while now, since first seeing them at an International Bluegrass Music Association showcase several years back, and I must say, it's great to see them continue to consolidate their strengths and make great artistic strides -- as they do on this new album. What first struck me was the fantastic vocal blend of the the band's three female singers...it is haunting and timeless in an old-fashioned bluegrass way, but also implied hints of swing and more ethereal pop. It was striking at the time, and it sings through loud and clear on "Doors and Windows."
"Doors and Windows" could be the big breakthrough for these guys, who have been working hard, traveling from one coast to the other, for years. The musicianship is finely honed, brilliantly balancing bluegrass soul and a more flexible, contemporary edge. The solo vocals are delicately heartbreaking (check out the cover of "Don't Let Me Down," which quietly obliterates every bluegrass-meets-the-Beatles cliche), and the band's original songwriting continues to mature, hitting new peaks of craft and clarity here.
If you're looking for the next big young roots act -- something along the lines of Nickel Creek, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Crooked Still, King Wilkie, etc. -- you should give Bearfoot a good hard listen. It's subtle, organic stuff, beautiful and uplifting while gently heartbreaking. Highly recommended!"
Cara E. West | Nashville, TN | 04/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is probably the greatest bluegrass band I have heard since Alison Krauss and Union Station. I've listened to "Doors and Windows" more times than I can count and I think I will probably wear the album out before it wears me out. :) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!"