Saturday, September 16, 2017

Angie Haze Project. Catching Bees with Honey.

Angie Haze Project.  Catching Bees with Honey.
Self-produced, 2017.  Angie Haze:

Angie Haze has been doing a lot of things lately, and gaining acclaim for the effort. A finalist in last year’s International Songwriting Competition for “Wave Goodbye,” which appeared on the 2014 Addiction EP, the song has remastered and put on this release. The shortest song on the album, to me it is the most powerful, displaying the singer’s voice at its rawest, but also most delicate. With only Haze and guitarist Spencer Martin, it should sound sparse, but overdubbing with multiple instruments and voices makes it a rich experience. I especially like the piano break.

Three other songs populate the EP. “Blood on the Mountain” is the result of the documentary of the same name, for which producer Mari-Lynn Evans invited Haze to perform on the screening tour of the film, including the premier at the Akron Civic Theatre in May. Powerful and heartfelt, it relates the story of a coal miner in West Virginia. Simpler in instrumentation with vocals, banjo, and percussion, it gives us another glimpse into Haze’s musical vision. “All that Breathes” begins as an a capella song, but moves into a more complex arrangement, with background vocals and a variety of instrumentation, including bagpipes. Uplifting in spirit, it shows Haze at her most optimistic. Finally, “Bad Habits” is a Jonah Koslen song, which she first performed at Koslen’s Stage Pass Now show. The theme is drug addiction, but Haze manages to put a hopeful spin in her voice and make it her own. By the way, Koslen liked it a lot.

Four songs, four different impressions of Angie Haze, all of which are fascinating and beautiful. Haze’s voice captivates, and takes the listener wherever she is going. My only complaints about the EP are that there are only four songs instead of a dozen, and that it is only available (currently) as a download. I’m old-fashioned, and still like CDs. Nevertheless, highly worth your time.

Personnel:  Angie Haze (lead and background vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, piano, bass synth, drum, percussion; whistle, chains, mining sounds); Ruth Chapman (bagpipes on “All that Breathes”); Chris Dudley (background vocals on “All that Breathes”); Spencer Martin (bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals, on “Wave Goodbye”);

Tracks:  All that Breathes; Bad Habits; Blood on the Mountain; Wave Goodbye (from The Addiction EP, 2014).

Jeff Wanser