Sunday, August 28, 2005


I had a whole other post planned for today. But last night I couldn't sleep and was trolling the Web when I came upon this extraordinary singer named Elisabeth Wood. Wood's canny enough to know that a forgettable name won't get you very far in the music biz, so she operates under the name Fancie (not to be confused with New Pornographer Todd Fancey's solo project, Fancey). And she makes music that's ideal Sunday listening.

FancieFor convenience's sake many people would probably slip this in the alt-country/roots slot. But I think Fancie's music's a lot more complicated than that: extremely personal and intimate, informed by blues, jazz and folk. Her voice reminds me at different times of vocalists like Dolly Pardon, Chan Marshall, Nina Simone and Jolie Holland--a disparate bunch for sure.

In a song like "Happy Birthday," she's a melancholy torch singer, in "A Wish," your best friend casually telling a familiar story. Most of the arrangements are simple--acoustic guitar and piano that never threaten to overwhelm Fancie's hushed voice (she sounds like she's singing at the low end of her natural range). Though "Stranger To None," the best of these three songs, surprises with a gorgeous backing choir and an unexpected piano flourish.

Stranger To None (mp3) - Fancie

Happy Birthday (mp3) - Fancie

A Wish (mp3) - Fancie

You can--and should--order Fancie's second album Stranger To None through Hush Records. I already have.

Unfortunately, most of us in the states have missed Fancie on her summer tour. But if you live in Portland, you can still catch her September 4 at Dunes. Though she grew up in Northern California, Fancie currently resides in Berlin and plays club dates there regularly.


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