words by tom johnson
photography by LeeAnn B Stephan
For reasons none too hard to grasp, 2020 was a slightly quieter year from Keeled Scales, though the Texan label still managed to deliver some small bundles of magic with beautiful works from Tenci and Will Johnson among others. 2021 is a different beast, however, and the label has already lined up beautiful works from Sun June, Karima Walker, Katy Kirby, and Big Thief’s Buck Meek ~ and today they announce another effort, this time with the debut album from Louisiana songwriter Renée Reed, to be released in March 26th.
Renée, so the story goes, “grew up on the accordion-bending knee of her grandfather Harry Trahan, in the middle of countless jam sessions at the one-stop Cajun shop owned by her parents” and her own music explores these colourful roots, while also taking inspiration from further afield: Richard Thompson, Serge Gainsbourg, Françoise Hardy, and outsider art are all referenced in the album’s foreword.
Having played in a high school group, as well as a traditional Cajun trio, Reed began working on her own songs in the time between, and eventually brought home a four-track recorder with her partner so she could begin committing her ideas to tape. two of those songs were released as stand alone singles last year, to critical acclaim from the likes of Gorilla Vs Bear and Various Small Flames, quietly setting the scene for her full arrival this year.
From the forthcoming self-titled record, we’re very pleased to today unveil “Fast One”, the short but compelling introductory single. Finding its darker edges with the cryptic and pronounced spell of Reed’s vocal, “Fast One” carries a somewhat enigmatic mystery, that incantation wrapping itself around the song’s repeated guitar pattern, in among the song’s dust and bones.
While it feels like the kind of song that could easily crawl on for 6/7/8 minutes, “Fast One” is indeed that, suddenly shrinking into the darkness after only 140 seconds but holding a gentle power that will call you back over and over, a whisper in the wind.
Listen below right now.
Preorder the album here
A Music Journal ~ Issue SEVEN
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