Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Lend Me Your Ears: The Local Strangers

Around these parts, Winter has been a pretty fierce beast. Brutal temperatures, streets covered in snow and ice, people covered in layer after layer of hats and scarves and there even seems to be a little coating of  weariness settling over people, places and things.  Days and nights turn into scavenger hunts for warmth: steamy beverages, thick wool socks and even music to warm the bones as we all pray for hibernation and the hope that maybe one day soon our  bare feet will be buried deep in warm beach sand.  

Today, Seattle, Washington’s The Local Strangers, released their newest album, Take What You Can Carry, breathing warmth into  these frosty days. The album includes 2 discs  filled with new, carefully crafted songs showcasing Aubrey Zoli's and Matt Hart's signature soulful harmonies. The first disc finds the duo backed up by a full band,  and the second disc shares acoustic and live versions of many of the same songs from the first disc, testifying that there are many  ways to tell a story, even while using the same words.  Music is based on emotion, often times emotion in conflict- brokenness and forgiveness, lost and found, hurting and healing. I love having two versions of a song and I think it plays well into highlighting the emotional complexities of life; sometimes we live life out loud and shake our tambourines like we just don’t care, and other quieter times  we yearn for a more stripped down life that  scrapes at our mortal rawness.

All the songs on Take What You Can Carry are strong stand alones but together they weave together a rich and passionate story full of all those messy things in life that makes us human; love, betrayal, longing, and those dread good-byes , all while cementing Matt and Aubrey’s  talents as  strong storytellers and powerful performers.  The lead single off the new album, Gasoline, caught my ear upon first listen, and has been happily stuck in my head for the last little bit.  The imagery in the song is vivid and striking, “Got a heart filled with gasoline, it  burns so long, but it don’t burn clean,”  and the haunting repetition of “You already forgave me,”  tenderly tugs at long past personal memories . And that my friends,  is a sure sign of a good song,  it has its own strong story, but it also has the ability to grab a hold of something in the listener’s own story. The layering of captivating lyrics,  dynamic vocals and impressive accompaniment  from the band makes for a  song that sparks the heart, no matter the temperature outside.

More information about Take What You Can Carry and The Local Strangers, including upcoming nationwide tour dates, can be found on their website.

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