I’ve got another banjo song for you, somehow. Another wonderful one. Go figure.
“Stinging Nettle, Honeysuckle” is sold to me via singer Jacquelyn Beaupre’ (apostrophe included), whose sweet, determined voice blends breathy innocence with grounded certainty. She sings as if placing each note in a favored location—a bright windowsill full of keepsakes, perhaps, or a tree-trunk altar along a wooded, late-summer path—and then letting them go, no big deal. There are always more notes to sing. And don’t get too attached to her anyway because she’s likely to wander away sooner than later.
The banjo this time is plucky and thoughtful. The ambiance is ancient-folky, as the title too suggests, even as there’s likewise something snappy and contemporary in the melody and presentation. I especially like the way a certain kind of lo-fi reverb is used to scuff the background without taking over the sound. The backing vocals receive this treatment, and it turns out there’s also some persistent underlying white noise in the mix which becomes audible only when the song comes to a full stop around 2:21. Pay attention to Beaupre’ right after that as she gives us a dainty cough before continuing. I really like that cough.
Blessed Feathers is a trio that was founded as a duo. The band bio begins: “Jacquelyn Beaupre’ plays everything. Donivan Berube plays everything else.” Beaupre’ and Berube are also girlfriend-boyfriend. The recently-arrived third player is Jordan Knowles, who handles percussion. “Stinging Nettle, Honeysuckle” is from the album From the Mouths of the Middle Class, the band’s second, released this week on Listening Party Records. You can buy the digital album for whatever price you’d like or you can buy a limited-edition vinyl album for $15, both via Bandcamp.