“Boasting immaculate musicianship and clean, unobtrusive production, Rawling and Parks’ Take the Air is a record that won’t wear out its welcome anytime soon.”
– The Portland Mercury
Jenn Rawling, ace songwriter and vintage American folk and old-time country
singer, joins masterful string player & harmony singer Basho Parks in a partnership of formidable musical talent and palpable sympathy. Their music marries musical and lyrical imagery, with repetitive figures that subtly shift accent and meaning like sunlight gleaming from a stream. The result is an emotionally rich work which unfolds more gifts with each listen. Take the Air will get in your head and heart, and you won’t mind a bit.
A rare songwriter whose varied and distinctive melodies carry the story, Rawling’s tunes can trace the motions and calls of birds and, in “Gather it Up,” the determined, seemingly desultory motion of honey bees, echoed and elaborated by Parks’ evocative violins. A melodic section’s end in “Whistle Bird” soars headlong into a new feeling; “Little Swallow” sashays in its groove like an old string band mainstay: Basho’s fiddle calls up a little bit of “Cotton-Eyed Joe,” daring all within earshot to give it up, to join in and dance like fools. “Leaving So Soon” captures the suddenness of a relationship loss by reaching the chorus so quickly we haven’t got time to prepare for it. We are waiting for more of the verse, each time, but like the person who left, it’s not there. And we feel it. “Lonely Owl,” “Gather it Up” and “Tidal” are cousin to the ecstatic nature poetry of Mary Oliver. Jenn Rawlins’ songs don’t connect the dots. They leap, and the intuitive connections she makes are so true that she takes us with her.
Born to hippie idealists in an adobe hut seven miles shy of Colorado’s Mt. Blanca, Basho Parks brings 26 years of string-playing experience, from symphonies to punk bands, bluegrass barn storms to roma-gypsy trios, organic electronica chamber music to classic country.
Jenn Rawling is a tree-sitting, fire-watching, pottery-making songstress born in Wisconsin and residing in Oregon. She is a roving apothecary, gardener, seamstress, chef, bicyclist, salamander-loving painter.
Produced by Jenn & Basho and engineered by Skyler Norwood
1. Big Old Lake
2. Whistle Bird
3. Oh Delia
4. Hug You Hug
5. Gather It Up
6. Lonely Owl
9. Little Swallow
10. Leaving So Soon
Jenn Rawling – guitar, vocals
Basho Parks – violin, viola, and backing vocals
Brendan Phillips – banjo
Joel Ricci – trumpet
Matt Berger – percussion
Mub Fractal – bass
Skyler Norwood – keys, drums
Willem Joersz – bass
Gather It Up (J. Rawling)
I saw a bee flying collecting pollen from flowers
And I gather love just like them drawn to sweet things I go on
For miles and miles and miles and miles
I go on for
I’m drawn to sweet things I go on for miles
Gather it up.
I see the light dancing on the green grasses green stems movements
Slowly and fastly and slowly and fastly and slowly
I gather myself into the center I go
And I light a candle for all of those passing I know
Who’ve gathered it up.
I heard a bird sing a song that was sweet to my ears
And just like them we gather and weave things to share
I heard a song about the end of all beautiful things.
And I heard a song said hold on to everything that love brings you
You gather it up.