Tristen: Charlatans at the Garden Gate

January 25, 2011

To those of us immersed in the Nashville local rock scene, it seems almost like a catharsis for Tristen’s debut album Charlatans at the Garden Gate to finally be released. There’s been talk around town of her album for a good two years, ever since she started working on it with Jeremy Ferguson at Battletapes. I worked with her on a promo photo shoot in October of 2009 during which one thing was very clear- she is the type of person who won’t release her art to the masses until she’s absolutely sure it’s perfect. That’s why this album took 2 years to make, but the result was well worth the wait. She and Jeremy managed to find just the right guest musicians and instrumentation to fit the songs. Good production is hard to describe, but the best I can do is say that when you hear a certain guitar part or tone, or certain keyboard sound, you just know that it’s RIGHT. You think to yourself, “that song needed to sound that way.” That’s what I think after listening to virtually every song on this record. Possibly the best example of this is the closing track “Save Raina.” The subject matter of her songs is mostly serious and sometimes rather dark, but the melodies and song structure never allow the songs to become downright depressing, just earnest. There’s always some degree of catchiness as well- these songs will stick in your head; not a single one is forgettable. Her voice is really the overwhelming factor, though. Just the right amount of cracks and warbles are left in so that she sounds incredibly human; incredibly real. This girl has got it all- the songwriting chops, the voice, the looks, and the band. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of this album when it hits shelves on Feb. 1st via American Myth Recordings. She’s currently on tour in support of the album, so check her myspace to see if she’s coming to your town. You can order a copy of the album through her main website, or check your local record store.

MP3: Tristen-Baby Drugs

Photo by Rachel Briggs

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