Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger

Natalie Prass

Fri, April 17, 2015

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Haw River Ballroom

Saxapahaw, NC

$15.00

Sold Out

Hiss Golden Messenger
Hiss Golden Messenger
The writing of the songs that became Heart Like a Levee started in a hotel room in Washington, DC , in January of 2015 during a powerful storm that dark- ened the East Coast. At that time I was feeling—more acutely than I had ever felt before—wrenched apart
by my responsibilities to my family and to my music. Forgetting, momentarily, that for me, each exists only with the other. How could I forget? Though maybe my lapse was reasonable: I had just quit my job, the most recent and last, in a series of dead-end gigs stretching back 20 years, with the vow that my children would understand their father as a man in love with his world and the inventor of his own days. They would be rare in that regard. And then—driven by monthly bills and pure fear— I left for another tour, carrying a load of guilt that I could just barely lift. But in that snowy ho- tel room I found the refrain that became my compass: I was a dreamer, babe, when I set out on the road; but did I say I could find my way home?

Through the spring and summer, while traveling and when I was off the road and at home in Durham, I wrote about love—the teaching kind and the destroying kind— and about movement, and being moved, really and truly moved. I wrote about our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters—of blood and the road—and how easy it can be to abdicate those responsibilities at the slightest threat of bad weather. I reckoned with things that I couldn’t see, but I could feel; and in so feeling begin to under- stand as real to me and those whom I love. I carried my piece of the fire, or tried to. The heart is a beautiful vessel, prone to failure and breathtaking acts of grace. An impermanent, permeable thing, lovely for its changeabil- ity, blameless for its fallibility. It’s hard to even begin to conceive of how to measure our boundaries. Heart Like a Levee is my taking stock of my universe, my span, my inventory, my leave-taking and return over back roads so blue they look black until the dawn.

...

Heart Like a Levee was recorded in the fall and winter of 2015. It was produced by myself and Brad Cook, who also played bass. Phil Cook played the piano and organ and guitar, and Matt McCaughan played the drums and percussion. Our friends Alexandra Saus- er-Monnig, Tift Merritt, Michael Lewis, Matt Douglas, Chris Boerner, Josh Kaufman, Ryan Gustafson, Sonyia Turner and Jon Ashley all contributed in important ways that you can read about in the album credits.

...

I have dedicated every day to song. I have been trav- eling all my life. And I understand that I am so lucky, and I am thankful. Money is easy enough to find if you want it bad enough; but art, true deep art full of grace that shakes and terrifies the soul, is an elusive spirit and damn near impossible to come by. So sitting in this sunny backyard at the end of this journey that I took with my friends and family, everyone that I love and some of whom did not even realize they were on this trip, I’m thinking: We found it. Goddammit, every- body: We found it. And that’s a rare feeling indeed.

And it’s all just a moment.

—M.C. Taylor Durham, North Carolina 15 June 2016
Natalie Prass
Natalie Prass
Natalie Prass is the kind of artist Spacebomb was created for–a songwriter's songwriter and performer's performer blessed with a golden voice and universal appeal–a singer who understands the vision and brings an undeniable talent to the process. She's a joy for any listener to discover–a lover and a fighter and old-soul trader in genuine energy, aiming straight for the heart. Prass turns a sly eye to the pageantry of emotion, the drama of love and the mysteries of everyday life with a disarming mixture of sincerity and cosmic insolence, unapologetically romantic, spinning golden threads of lyric and melody, each inflection and melisma planned and considered, each word tailored for meaning and effect–the pop gesture as artform. She delivers it all with carefree charm and nearly divine intuition. Her voice, at times so ethereal, is shot through by strength and sinew and just a hint of transient grit. The feeling is soft, but it cuts so deep, leaving any listener with a trace of a soul, thunderstruck and enchanted.

Born in Cleveland, in the heart of the 1980s, Prass entered the teenage slipstream back on the east coast, past the haunted houses, surf shops, and burger joints of Virginia Beach, a mid-tier, rough-around-the-edges resort town. There is an inevitability to every biography, a myriad of strange narrative palm lines that twist and intersect, and she followed hers bravely to a seam of alternative beach culture, living close to the Atlantic Ocean but studying a less bronzed way of life. With her pet bird on her shoulder, she took intensive music and visual art courses all through high school. Going to a good music school was the next logical step, but after a year in cold, snowy Boston, Prass dropped out of Berklee and returned to the beach. She spent a spell working and playing shows in boardwalk clubs before moving out to Nashville where she has spent close to the last decade developing her craft, collaborating with some of the better characters on the edges of Music City culture, building a reputation with her radiant voice, unique performances, and for being a bit of an iconoclast. Prass has carefully avoided the glossy singer-songwriter scene, reaching for something more interesting, more exciting.For her debut performance at Nashville's storied Ryman Auditorium, she surprised fans by pulling off a guileless reggae set in front of an Isaac Hayes poster she had displayed behind her band.

When the time came to record a full length, Prass returned to Virginia to work with Spacebomb Records, a label able to realize big visions and lush productions within the rustic charm of its attic studio. The match made sense musically and her ties to Matthew E. White go back to playing in rock bands in their high school days. The two worked together, selecting nine tracks to run through Spacebomb's creative machine. With hard work and the alchemy of circumstance, they crafted an unassuming masterpiece–a real stunner that sounds both thoroughly out-of-time and impossibly fresh.

Prass is a powerful, beguiling performer and cunning pop composer–one for the moment and one for the ages.
Venue Information:
Haw River Ballroom
1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road
Saxapahaw, NC, 27340
http://www.hawriverballroom.com/