Basia Bulat

Toronto native Basia Bulat's 2007 debut, Oh, My Darling, etched a fine line among traditional folk, alt-pop, folk rock, and chamber folk while her dusky, vibrato-rich voice lent a distinctively organic pungency to the entire affair. That earthy flair is also at the core of her new album, Heart of My Own, again produced by Howard Bilerman (of Arcade Fire fame), and densely packed with Bulat's mystical musings about love's vagaries. She wrote many of the songs after a visit to the Yukon, and if some, like "Gold Rush," have an obvious link, the entire album has a brash, frontier quality, whether on a brittle mountain ballad such as "Sparrow" (featuring just voice and ukulele) or a full-blown, galloping romp like "Go On," haunted by shadowy demons. Dual violins give a baroque elegance to "Sugar and Spice," carrying over to the intro of "Gold Rush," which quickly shifts into a charging, Celtic-tinged folk-rocker. In fact, Bulat draws on elements from Appalachia, the Balkans, Bavarian music halls, vintage country, the Byrds, and jazz, while employing an equally eccentric mix of instruments from autoharp, banjo, and uke to French horn, cello, and organ. Holding it all together is Bulat's charming blend of resilient strength, cautious vulnerability, and resolute spirit. And those folk-rock hooks. All ages. (Photo by John Benson)
Wed., Feb. 24, 7 p.m., 2010

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