by Jennifer Christine Sjolund
May 9, 2013
Pacificana taps into the neglected musical history of the Pacific Northwest with beautiful arrangements of forgotten old folk songs. Brought to life by indie pop/folk artist Tamara Power-Drutis and friends of impressive creative and musical credentials, Pacificana is an album that musically bridges the past and the present.
Co-sponsored by City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and Tamara Power-Drutis, Pacificana is based on the admirable concept of “reimagined americana songs of the Pacific Northwest (Pacificana) from the mid-19th Century through early 20th Century exploring the settlement era, Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, the Wobblies, travel to the west, and their influence on our local culture.”
It is nice to see a modern artist connect with her roots. The result may be especially interesting to anyone with an informed interest in the history of folk music, however, the reimagining was successful enough to ensure the album is listenable for enjoyment more than merely for research.
Ghosts Of The West, York Addition, Cold Water, and Celia Mine are catchy and arranged with a modern sensibility. Lyrically poetic, and disturbing enough to catalyze a humble respect for those who tamed the melancholy wild of the historic Pacific Northwest. Pie In The Sky and Bellingham March complete the collection, with slightly corny lyrics and a much more stereotypically folk-y sound. You may find yourself stomping your imaginary boots, but at least you’re dancing those blues away.
Either way, you forget you’re getting a glimpse into the hearts and minds of our predecessors, until you realize you’ve heard the echoes of these lives before, not only in the dynamic harmonies of Pacificana, but in the dirt you stand on and the air you breathe.