MUSIC: Tim Woulfe + Allysen Callery At What Cheer Records

Thursday, July 04, 2013
Ken Abrams, GoLocalProv Music Critic

Local treasure Allysen Callery deserves wider recognition for her talents.
An enthusiastic crowd was welcomed at What Cheer last Saturday for a record release event featuring two local artists. Among the gems, trinkets, and quirky antiques, (not to mention thousands of artists listening carefully from their album covers), Tim Woulfe and Allysen Callery played a nice intimate show.

Tim Wolfe

Both artists fall somewhat on the fringes of folk. Woulfe, a college student and RI native, played a set of mostly originals. He pulls a fresh sound out of his nylon stringed guitar; a light distortion effect, “ethereal fuzz,” as he calls it. It accompanies his droning “primitive” vocal nicely. (Think Leonard Cohen meets Jeff Buckley.)  His new release, Appollonian Sound, features several songs referencing literary icons John Milton and James Joyce. He has a lot of potential–this album grows on you–we look forward to more!

Allysen Callery

Allysen Callery is a local treasure who clearly deserves wider recognition. Winner of the Phoenix Singer-Songwriter of the Year (2012), her new release Mumblin Sue, feels like a breakthrough album. She is heavily Influenced by the British Folk Revival of the late 60s early 70s, her style has been dubbed “ghost-folk.”

The Providence native, a late bloomer who didn’t record her first album until she was almost 40, played several from her new release.  Her finger-style guitar work is top notch. Her lyrics are just on the edge of surreal, slightly off center, and intensely passionate.

Sounding a little like early Joni Mitchell, with a voice airy and mystical, she’s a fairy whisperer. But her words speak to the human experience. In The Hollow, she asks…

In Your Hollow
Do You Collect the Sunlight
In Your Hollow
Lonely

On the brilliant Lily of the Valley, her nuanced guitar work equals her subtle delivery.

Someone had to be the hard headed hammer
Well let me be the part that pries the nails out
When all of the walls built between us are gone
We’ll lie in the grass
In the warm sun

(Click here to view the video of Lily of the Valley, produced by Brett Davey.)

There’s some fun on this release. In “I Had a Lover I Thought Was My Own,” the narrator falls for the town gigolo. In My Carolina, whimsical lyrics match an upbeat tempo…

Meet Me Midnight
Soft step candlelight
And I’ll slip inside
I’m on fire driving down your highway.

More Allysen Callery

Be sure to catch Allysen opening for Chris Isaak at the Newport Sunrise Concert Series Point Stage next Wednesday July 10th. (Mr. Isaak, check out her CD and get her up on stage!) Get there early–she’s on at 5:30–good seats available.

What Cheer Vintage and Antiques plans to do more record release events. It’s a chance to mingle with some great artists, not to mention do some great shopping. Not to mention free adult beverages!  (Doesn’t “What Cheer, Netop” pretty much mean the same thing as “Hi Neighbor!”)

Ken Abrams reviews Roots, Rock and a little Reggae for GoLocal. E-Mail him submissions and upcoming gigs at mrabrams@aol.com.