Balmorhea – October 13, 2012

Balmorhea (pronounced BAL-MORE-AY) is a six-piece instrumental group from Austin, TX. Founded by Rob Lowe and Michael Muller in 2006, the band has produced five full-length albums, including the forthcoming Stranger, which will be released in the United States in October 2012.

Inceptually influenced by the band’s namesake, a tiny West Texas town of 500 people, Balmorhea’s early work reflected motifs of the American Southwest: the folklore of Texas settlers, the emotive proclamations of the mountainous setting, and intimate studies on solitude, nature, and night. Slowly adding more members to the band over the years, including a string section and full percussion, Balmorhea’s rich and layered music continues to be simultaneously concise and complex, uniting a collection of ideas, textures, and sounds into one genre-defying landscape.

Balmorhea, called “an exemplary experiment in restraint” by The New Yorker, has toured the US and Europe five times each, including shows with Fleet Foxes, Mono, Tortoise, Bear in Heaven, Sharon Van Etten, Damien Jurado, Here We Go Magic, and others. Additionally the band has performed at Austin City Limits Music Festival, SXSW, Fun Fun Fun Fest, and the Hopscotch Festival. Their music has been featured and reviewed by Pitchfork, MOJO, NME, Time Out New York, Drowned in Sound, NPR, and many more.

My Brightest Diamond

As impressive as her list of recent collaborators, Shara Worden’s voice and arresting live performances have left audiences thunderstruck from the Sydney Opera House to Lincoln Center to the House of Blues.  She’s performed under the experimental-pop moniker My Brightest Diamond for the last seven years, and counts Bryce Dessner (The National), Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), David Byrne, Laurie Anderson and each of The Decemberists among friends and fans. They are just a few of the many who’ve fallen in love with Worden’s mystical voice and mythic storytelling.

Growing up outside of Detroit in a family of musical evangelists, Worden studied multiple instruments (her father is an acclaimed accordionist and mother an organist). She became equally passionate about classical and Motown, later pursuing a degree in Opera at the University of North Texas where she wrote and recorded original material for the first time.  After moving to New York by way of Moscow, Worden recorded three albums before joining the ranks of Sufjan StevensIllinoisemakers. She then expanded her  musical education further by studying composition under Padma Newsome (ClogsThe National), and turned out several scores for off-Broadway productions.

Worden’s artistry seems to transcend music itself. On stage she evokes as much Martha Graham as Edith Piaf, and can be found collaborating with visual artists (Matthew Ritchie) and filmmakers (Matthew Barney, Murat Eyuboglu) alike. Where worlds are colliding, there is a Shara; a zeitgeist for a growing movement of experimental musicians eager to bend the borders of artistry and genre.

Having recently moved to urban Detroit, planted a garden and given birth to a son, Worden’s latest offering, All Things Will Unwind, draws inspiration from the motor city itself. More folk inspired than much of her recent work the new album addresses the juxtaposition of life and death, class and race, pantries and politics—as heard through the mesmerizing lullaby of a new mother.