Orenda Fink returns, not long after her technologically experimental O+S project, with a solo record that grounds her firmly back in a world of acoustic instruments and evocative songwriting. “High Ground,” with its minor key orientation, purposeful picking (both mandolin and banjo, from the sound of it), and group vocals, unfolds with the offhand seriousness of a back-country folk song. The title, and the central metaphor therein, implies both threat and survival; Fink’s lovely, careful singing voice, is, by song’s end, all but swallowed by the vocal wave around her, but she keeps singing, and doesn’t raise her voice. And we still hear her, all the more so because we have to try.
“High Ground” is a track from Fink’s forthcoming album, Ask the Night, to be released next month on Saddle Creek Records. And the ever-active, prolific Fink has also been playing with Maria Taylor as Azure Ray again this summer; the word is that a new Azure Ray album is in the works for next year.