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MP3 Dao Strom - Everything That Blooms Wrecks Me

Vietnamese-born songstress and novelist''s follow-up to her 2005 release, Send Me Home. A writer''s writer - lyrical, intelligent, with a gift for subtlety. Music for the gentle-souled & the quietly drifting. Indie, Americana, alternative folk.

11 MP3 Songs in this album (41:41) !
Related styles: FOLK: Alternative Folk, FOLK: Appalachian Folk

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With a spareness that is almost meditative, and a fragility rooted in quiet strength, Dao Strom sings of the unspoken spaces of love, the elusive beauty of longing, darkness laced with grace, introspection to the gentlest degree.

Hers is a pure and earnest voice that traverses eras and cultures – born in Vietnam, raised in northern California, steeped in the music of Austin TX, now based in Juneau AK, Dao is an artist who carries with her diverse influences.

Dao’s 2004 debut release, Send Me Home, was a quiet and modest affair - recorded live in 3 days (on a 2-track analog tape machine) with Dao and her bandmates loosely assembled in a room behind producer Brian Beattie’s house (producer credits include Okkervil River, Shearwater, Daniel Johnston) in Austin, Texas. The Vietnamese-born American folk singer’s self-release garnered striking critical praise and radio attention nationally and internationally, curiously likening Dao’s voice and style to “mountain music” neo-traditionalists such as Gillian Welch and Freakwater. No Depression featured an artist profile of Dao in March 2005, and 3rd Coast Music featured her as their cover story that same April. She performed at SXSW 2006 where she was a “Critic’s Pick” for several publications, including The Austin Chronicle.

Dao is also widely acclaimed as a literary author with two published books of fiction. The title of her latest book, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (Counterpoint Press, 2006), should say enough about what she is up to in her prose. Investigating the inner lives of women and the vagaries of love and relationship, her stories have been praised as “quietly beautiful…hip without being ironic” (The New Yorker) and “an acute, often painful, exploration of identity, displacement, and sexuality” (Venus Zine). About her debut novel, Grass Roof, Tin Roof (Mariner Books, 2003), The Washington Post wrote simply, “Strom’s writing is stunning.”

everything that blooms wrecks me (2008) is Dao’s second release of all original songs, and showcases once again her gift for words and her talent for traversing and merging cultures and genres.

Each of these limited-edition discs is packaged in a beautiful handmade paper envelope.

~what it sounds like:

“Her beautifully crafted songs are like leaves blowing in the gentle evening breeze over a spartan landscape.” - https://www.tradebit.com

“...distinctive and subtle songs that combine an old musical soul with a thoroughly modern sensibility...marvelously intelligent and moving songs.” - 3rd Coast Music

From the haunting Appalachian-tinged acapella mythos of “Traveler’s Ode,” to the spare, rhythmic, finger-plucked electric guitar accompanied by cello and delicate piano of the album’s title track, these are songs that have their roots soulfully anchored in traditional American folk music yet also reach uniquely beyond tradition. Dao has been a traveler in her life, and her music reflects this. Lyrically and melodically, she uses the context of traditional roots music but infuses into the traditional format the sometimes wrenching, sometimes subversive, always compassionate insights of a modern cultural nomad.

Love, temples, snow, rivers, fires and seeds, seas and memories. Stars dying across the sky. Paper lanterns and wine coolers. These songs shed light on the inbetween moments and feelings that are hard to describe yet press upon our senses ever so gently and mysteriously. Softly distorted electric guitars weave through a musical landscape of otherwise sparse acoustic arrangements that include cello, accordion, dobro, violin, sweet female harmonies, and laidback acoustic rhythms. In this music you will find a notable gentleness of perception; an authentic sweetness; an intelligent vulnerability.

The musicians on “Everything That Blooms Wrecks Me” include members from some of Austin’s elite bands – Billy Brent Malkus (dobro, electric guitar) of The Texas Sapphires, Brian Beken (violin, mandolin) of South Austin Jug Band, Kullen Fuchs (piano, accordion) of Future Clouds and Radar, and Joseph Santori (cello) of The Oliver Rajamani Experiment. blooms was produced by Austin producer Darwin Smith and recorded at his East Austin studio Cacophony Recorders.

~A Review from Grant Alden of NO DEPRESSION:

“The successor to 2004''s Send Me Home – a curious title from a woman born in Saigon who writes fiction that drifts, as she seems to, across the country – is as subtle and word-driven as its precedessor. Strom is also more comfortable in her own singing this time, and less shaped by the dry mannerisms of the Carter Family, whose influence led to the concluding "I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger" on her debut.

“Which is to say her vocals are not so often trying to be country – that they sound more like I imagine her speaking voice. She chose to record her debut on a late ''50s analog two-track; this appears to have been cut on an eight-track, and she uses the extra layers to good advantage.

“Her voice, then, is a sharp but carefully modulated brush placed amid various acoustic layers, and surprisingly pretty (though her words can be wonderfully disconcerting)… I don''t want to talk about her lyrics because they seem so private as to invite solitary exploration within the comfort of headphones and winter tea. But let me clip this opening bit from the song she calls "Silver":

i''ve always worn silver
i''ve never wanted gold
the choice was given to me
& i put it on hold
to hold fast to my heart
& not a band of gold
i guess i didn''t believe it would
really take away the cold
i''ve never worn a dress that i
couldn''t run away in

“It is not clear to me what Strom wants from her music, whether it''s a hobby that serves as a tonic to her fiction, or an adjunct to it. Or both. Or neither. In both cases, I tend to suspect she is only at the beginning of a long creative road, and that her work in ten or twenty years will be extroardinary.”

(from https://www.tradebit.com, Oct 21, ''08)

~more from reviewers:

“...pure and lovely music...rich with a tender melancholy and gentle darkness.” - Magnaphone Music

“Dao Strom sings a lonely song for the entire world to hear...and her wanderlust makes for a beautiful album that endears you from the start. She’s a storyteller, and a damn good one.” - The Austin Chronicle

“...string band music filtered through the mind’s eye, untainted by...sentimentality.” - No Depression

“Strom is a double threat. She’s an accomplished songwriter and an accomplished prose writer...Yes, she does both very well.”
- San Antonio Express-News

“The music made by Dao and her friends on Send Me Home is of a serene beauty…Take a listen and I’m sure you’ll want more.”
- Rootstown Music (Belgium)

~some words from the artist:

''Words, stories – perceptions, and the endeavor of voicing them – have always been an integral part of my life and being. I am the daughter of writers, I was born in the wake of a war. This sounds possibly melodramatic, but it is also true. My mother fled her homeland (with me) in order to preserve her voice; my birth father stayed behind and was silenced. My reasons for writing, for voicing, musically, lyrically, and otherwise, are a continuing attempt to clear the air, to bridge rifts, to return to something older and greater than my knowable self, to hopefully heal – something – and to pay my respects to the voices, sorrows, lessons of ancestors before me. I am still learning how to use my voice in this ‘new world’ where I have been given both the blessing and curse of freedom; lately, I am trying to do more with it than just keen…at or about the past. These songs are my own seeds in the ashes: & I am doing my best to tend them.... I owe thanks too for inspiration to the two loves of my life – Lincoln, my son, and Kyle.''


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