By Hannah Simon | February 19th, 2011
I think Jenny Lewis was my gateway artist into the world of folk rock female singer-songwriters. I remember it taking me a while to embrace the slight country twang to some of the acoustic songs, but now I’m a full convert, probably preaching to the masses here on Indie Shuffle.
As part of Nashville’s booming community of talented artists, it didn’t take long for Tristen Gaspadarek’s lovely voice and soft, 70s rock sound to get noticed. After putting together an album of home recordings (Teardrops & Lollipops) and recording a five-song EP (Deceivers Are Achievers), she finally came out with a full-length debut last week, Charlatans at the Garden Gate.
Tristen’s voice surprises me on every track – it expands and contracts so effortlessly; on one song she’s bellowing out plucky country ballads (“Matchstick Murder,” “Battle of the Gods”), and next she’s softly crooning (“Wicked Heart”) — some of the songs even have traces of Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence.”
As for the meaning behind a lot of the tender, relationship-based lyrics, Tristen explains it best herself:
“I’m bored of people’s diary entries made song, so I try to encompass broader ideas. I write about people, about how we relate to each other. You can analyze social dynamics and simplify everything into different patterns – sometimes people see themselves, sometimes they see others, either way I’m having a good time trying to figure things out.”
There’s no denying that Charlatans at the Garden Gate is a solid debut effort from Tristen; I’m excited to watch her career and sound grow. You can get the album (and more!) on her website.