Righteous Babe Records
A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Profound. Eclectic. Meaningful. Humorous. Rhythmic. Ani Difranco has never been at a loss for words or making music and with this new double cd collection, Revelling/Reckoning, the Ani Difranco fan is privy to an incredible variety of styles and poetry. Though she's never been the most radio-friendly of singer/songwriters out there, Difranco has managed to cull a huge following and maintain her own individuality and integrity in everything she does. Owning her own record label, not selling out to a major label, she has managed to become successful in her own right. Her concerts are always a joy, filled with raw energy and talent. Revelling/Reckoning is determined to give you the full Ani Difranco experience. |
These are not songs for the faint of heart. Ani tests the boundaries of her own music, technology and poetry. On Revelling, the more upbeat of the two cds, she begins with a fierce energy mixing funk and r&b with Ain't That The Way. Difranco is just as much at home with these styles as she is with just her guitar and her folk rock solos. But what is most intriguing about this collection is how Difranco plays with different sounds and percussive styles whether in song or underscoring the spoken word of her poetry. And, she has a way with words...a simple line is a call to arms or a tug at your heart.
"Joy,it has its own justice" she states in Fierce Flawless. "Our dreams are all guillotines, waiting to fall," she warns in Subdivision. "I'm wondering what it will take for my country to rise, first we admit our mistakes and then we open our eyes, or nature succumbs to one last dumb decision and America the beautiful is just one big subdivision." On Reckoning, Difranco deals with some very personal issues in a more acoustic and pure manner. It's a simpler recording, as if she sat down with either her guitar or a bunch of friends and laid the tracks down in a very informal way. It's extremely intimate and uncomplicated.
Armed with 29 new tracks of material, Ani is joined on half of those songs by members of her band: Julie Wolf on keyboards, Jason Mercer on Bass, Daren Hahn on drums, Hans Teuber on alto sax and Shane Endsley on Trumpet. There are also plenty of guest artists including sax man Maceo Parker, Trumpeter Jon Hassell and pedal steel virtuoso Lloyd Maines.
With Revelling/Reckoning, you get a lot of bang, maybe too much bang, for you buck. It is so diverse in styles; mixing Latino beats followed by jazz and beat sounds to funk and r&b to that pure acoustic sound. It is almost overwhelming. The key word here is "almost" because Difranco pulls you into her world and it's always an unexpected surprise.
The packaging also is done with impeccable taste. There's a booklet of lyrics for each cd. A lot of care was taken with the use of images and words thoughout them. Simply produced by Difranco, one comes to expect the most from her artistic temperament and with Revelling/Reckoning, her core audience won't be disappointed.