Emilia Dahlin
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Emilia Dahlin

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF

Portland, Maine, United States | SELF
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
01
Emilia Dahlin @ One Longfellow Square

Portland, Maine, USA

Portland, Maine, USA

May
23
Emilia Dahlin @ Imperial Theatre

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

May
20
Emilia Dahlin @ WMPG 90.9's "Local Motives"

Portland, Maine, USA

Portland, Maine, USA

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Music

Press


From the opening licks of Emilia Dahlin's "God Machine," it's clear that she's something special. In a region flooded with singer/songwriters, she stands out with clever storytelling, crisp melodies, and an undeniable passion. She excels at sending her listeners on journeys, and she can bend her acoustic guitar to meet the genre that fits the trip best: sometimes folk, sometimes Latin, sometimes Gypsy jazz. She understands that strings don't have to be strummed -- they can be plucked or struck.
Emilia's live shows are a lesson in intimacy. Emilia charms her audience to the edge of their seats with her wry smirk and clarion voice -- then drops them to the floor with foot-stomping, head-shaking grooves. Two solid albums and a flare for performance have won her a growing legion of fans based around her Portland home. With a new album set to drop soon and more tour dates to follow, it looks as though Maine may have to share its best-kept secret - Yankee Magazine - by Justin Shatwell


From the opening licks of Emilia Dahlin's "God Machine," it's clear that she's something special. In a region flooded with singer/songwriters, she stands out with clever storytelling, crisp melodies, and an undeniable passion. She excels at sending her listeners on journeys, and she can bend her acoustic guitar to meet the genre that fits the trip best: sometimes folk, sometimes Latin, sometimes Gypsy jazz. She understands that strings don't have to be strummed -- they can be plucked or struck.
Emilia's live shows are a lesson in intimacy. Emilia charms her audience to the edge of their seats with her wry smirk and clarion voice -- then drops them to the floor with foot-stomping, head-shaking grooves. Two solid albums and a flare for performance have won her a growing legion of fans based around her Portland home. With a new album set to drop soon and more tour dates to follow, it looks as though Maine may have to share its best-kept secret.
For information and a performance schedule, go to: emiliadahlin.com - Yankee Magazine


You'll excuse Emilia Dahlin if her first release since the well-received God Machine in 2006 is a six-song EP. She's got things to do. In just six weeks or so, she and husband Aaron Frederick (co-founder of Rippleffect, a local non-profit) take off on a year-long world tour, which will entail everything from public service to club gigs. You can't just pack for that sort of thing the night before you leave town.
RATTLE THEM BONES | Released by Emilia Dahlin | at SPACE Gallery, in Portland | April 24 | www.emiliadahlin.com

These Frederick men are treating her well, it seems. On the new Rattle Them Bones, bassist Adam Frederick (Aaron's brother) continues to help Dahlin to refine and toy with her sound and songwriting, providing verve to match Dahlin's moxie. She's a singer/songwriter, right? Well, then why isn't there any singing on the all-instrumental "La Fin," where Frederick switches to the acoustic guitar and Dahlin provides a fine accordion melody?

Dahlin is very underrated on the accordion, I think. The guitar, too.

And since that perfect accompaniment to a car chase in a Wes Anderson film closes out the album, by that point it's no surprise. Already we've been treated with all manner of approaches.

After an 11-second ode to "Old Man Winter," full of blowing wind and rattling shutters (and bones), Dahlin gets out of the gate with a bass-heavy, jazzy strut of a title track, the kind of thing she grew into with "Candy" last album, though here she's more baby doll in her delivery. Recorded in the WERS studios in Boston, here Frederick seems completely at ease, free-wheeling and seeming to be making it up on the fly. "Old Man Winter, I challenge you," sings Dahlin with an ironic, almost robotic, keel, "to a duel of the wills." With spiraling lyrics in the verses, the chorus is rather to the point, a strong statement out of the gate, like she's puffing out her chest: "Try as you might/You just can't rattle these bones." (She gives us more of her now-famous scatting here, too.)

Dahlin's always been great at girl-power, but in her most aggressive-sounding piece, the rocking "Be My Husband," she tries the submissive role on for size. "If you want me to," she sings, this time distorted and tortured, "I'll cook and sew/Outside of you, there is no place to go." She sports a wonderfully crazed falsetto in the chorus, ear-piercing in a good way, and she does well in making this girl seem disturbed, indeed, in her desires.

Jealousy is never flattering: "Stick to the promise that you gave me/That you'll stay away from Rosa Lee."

Dahlin kicks in some Americana, too, and here with "Cast" she even tackles "Latin Americana," miming Stan Getz's samba tendencies and evincing a smooth croon to please even Astrud Gilberto. Gone are the clipped phrases you might associate with Dahlin, and in their place are syllables like taffy to go with the song's psychedelic bent: "You lift your face straight up to the sky/And never bother with what is below." There's a nice keyboard backing, too, popping in to support the melody with some subtlety, and Frederick slurs his bass all over the place.

More rootsy is "Sweet Annie," a love song of longing that opens with a quick-picked guitar in the style of Doc Watson. The lead-in verse, I'm sorry to say, reminds me of that "Ironic" song — I had to put that out there — but then it moves minor and doesn't sound like it at all anymore, I swear (unless you like that song). A toy-piano kind of thing is an icy juxtaposition with the heat the resonates though the lyrics: "I am dreaming of your mouth."

I think Dahlin is more cognizant of the listener on this album (or EP, whatever) than she's been previously. In her experimenting and role-playing she never forgets her musicality. There's nothing intentionally off-putting or jarring, though you've got to pay attention. The quick-waltz sea shanty of "Evangeline" (not to be confused with the epic Matthew Sweet tune by the same name) is like a great writer working in genre, complete with water moving and the creak of an old tied-up boat. The chorus even boasts a sailor-choir backing: "Evangeline, don't you cry for me when you realize I'm gone/I'm not worth the salt of your tears, and I'm damned for doing you wrong."

Same advice for all of you, really: Don't cry for Emilia when you realize she's gone for the next year or so. She'll be back with a whole new batch of songs, ready to play them for you.



Read more: http://thephoenix.com/portland/music/81294-rattle-your-cage/?page=2#TOPCONTENT#ixzz0nlNyprVu - Porland Phoenix


Emilia Dahlin does not seem satisfied to restrict herself to one instrument, so she brought a few. Refreshingly, she also does not seem willing to let her musical style fall in one country’s realm. Each song may have featured Dahlin’s strong, full voice, but the musical accompaniment was downright global.

Dahlin is one of an increasingly rare breed of songwriter, one who is willing to dive into more narrative subjects instead of staying focused on more universal subjects that could apply to anyone. These are songs that tell stories, that transport the listener to different places and different lands. Interestingly enough, her multi-faceted view of music seems to come from primarily American sources.

“When I’m on the road, I’m just constantly surfing the channels on the radio. There’s so much raw material out there that actually exists, one almost doesn’t need to write fiction in their songs.”

“Cast” leads off the set, one of the songs coming from her upcoming EP, which was partially recorded in the WERS studios. Accompanied by Adam Frederick on upright bass, Dahlin unrolls strings of adjectives throughout her lyrics, while Frederick’s bass pops intently. Dahlin’s new EP is actually the first recording Frederick began contributing songwriting to, despite the fact that he has been performing with Dahlin for the past six years.

“That actually how I originally started, performing in a duo setting. Working with Adam has been refreshing more than anything else.”

No matter who contributed more to it, “Evangiline” is undoubtedly an extremely entertaining song. Dahlin switches over to an accordion and begins a waltz-time shanty. Frederick offers stellar background vocals and percussive bass work. The song contains the point where she really projects her voice the most, and its power is noticeable. Her voice never cracks, but soars above the music triumphantly.

Despite having a strong musical presence in the Boston area, Dahlin has made the possibly wise choice to base herself out of Portland, Maine, where there isn’t such a strong scene of singer-songwriters. “Moving up there has definitely allowed me to stand out as an artist, while still bringing the strong scene that Boston has. I mean, people come here for that reason, with Club Passim and its strong tradition in that scene.
Taking things to yet another region of the globe, “Sad Affair”’s intro features borderline flamenco guitar work from Dahlin, who offers her quickest and most confrontational vocal yet, ripe with vivid imagery.

“I came to college up here for documentary photography, which then ended up leading to me writing songs in a more narritive fashion. Honestly, I get the most inspiration from reading the newspaper each day because of that.”

Hopefully, Dahlin continues her travels throughout the future, as they provide her interesting and distinctive slants in an extremely crowded scene. - 89.9WERS fm Boston


Discography

Stealing Glimpses, 2001
Emilia, 2004
God Machine, 2006
Rattle Them Bones, 2009

Photos

Bio

Wielding a voice that defies the size of her body and strong storytelling sensibilities, Emilia has carved out her name as a unique songstress, know for a genre-bending style that's all her own. She weaves mesmerizing tales (complete with Greek myths, robotic messiahs, epic floods, and tax evaders) with raw, rootsy folk and dynamic vintage jazz vocals.

Born on a small farm south of Boston to a musical instrument collecting father and accordion playing mother, Emilia was destined for a life of music. She started piano, formally, at the age of five and trained classically for the next thirteen years. It was Christmas day, 1996, when Emilia decided she wanted to play the guitar. She went up to the attic, pulled out a warped and worn guitar, that once belonged to her great grandfather, and started to play.

Fresh off a year-long journey 'round the globe, she's ripe with new material collected from and inspired by the countries and communities she visited.