Best Folk Artist (2011)

Roma di Luna

Is Roma di Luna a folk group? Before the release of last year's Then the Morning Came, the answer was more clear-cut: The band's sparse arrangements were etched with folkie fragments stretching through Appalachia. When Morning broke, Luna tunes had more electric guitars sneaking around, along with the odd saxophone and trumpet, while the group flirted with Memphis R&B, blues, and splinters of pop and rock. Nevertheless, Roma di Luna remain firmly in the folk realm on the strength of Channy Moon Casselle's remarkable vocals alone. Although she can belt it out when so inclined, Channy's plaintive, emotionally harrowing laments about love and death on songs like "Starling" are rooted in centuries-old tradition, as is the haunting music that the now full-fledged band conjures with such finesse, led by husband Alexei's acoustic guitar. In fact, Morning's concentration on matters like the vital cycles of life have been the stuff of folk artists for generations. And whether their music strays into country or further afield, few bands understand the essence of folk or do it better than Roma di Luna.


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