Barbara Jean has got the most startling set of eyes. They are a light sea-foam green, rimmed in dark forest, and they stare back at you with no small amount of directness. In some ways, between her eyes and the way she concentrates on the conversation, she recalls the physicality of her native North Shore town. "I lived in the country, about ten miles out of town, on a farm, in a house that I built. It was very rural, very serene, very beautiful. I had wolves in my yard, deer... you could see the lake [Superior], a little sliver of it, from the porch at my house. It's hard to explain," says Barbara Jean of her home near Grand Marais. "I think the environment up there, anyone who's been up there to the North Shore, you see how breathtakingly beautiful it is, and when you live there, I think it really becomes part of your consciousness -- all that open space and the wildness of it just sort of gets imprinted on you in your psyche in a way that you don't totally realize until you're not around it." There's a lot in Barbara Jean's music that comes out that way, too: sparse banjo and fiddle arrangements that swell and temper with Jean's quiet-storm vocals. Her November 2012-released debut album, The Great Escape, showed off Jean's talents as a songwriter with startling clarity, through lush imagery that feels as rooted in the Midwestern landscape as Barbara Jean herself. With Southwire. (Photo by Stephen Hoglund)
Sat., Oct. 26, 8 p.m., 2013
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