On first listen, the two tracks of This Little Bird, the new release from Northern Kentucky singer-songwriter Sarah Asher, are disarming. The songs, in Asher’s characteristically subtle, delicate delivery, find their roots in an easy folksiness, but just below that surface lies a much deeper world.
Like the melancholy softness of a long tracking shot across the third act of a Wes Anderson film, “Heaven,” the first track, uses musical textures to paint a portrait with colors that could not otherwise be captured. The song plays out like a lullaby, appealing not to nostalgia, but a remindful present, with the masterful work of guest cellist Kate Wakefield layering swells of emotion throughout the plaintive appeal of the vocals.
The second track, “Take Me,” plays the same feint, convincing the listener that it is simply going to be a quiet ballad, with its unassumingly muffled acoustic guitar lilting under Asher’s impassioned but restrained vocal delivery. As the track plays on, sonic textures emerge through choruses of reverberating backing vocals and layers of instruments, carrying the song to a gentle but quietly heartfelt end.
Feeling like some sort of lo-fi blend between Keren Ann and Aimee Mann, This Little Birdis an enticing entrée into Asher’s work, and I can only hope she has more of the same for us in the future.
2) Take Me