Skye Steele Reconciles the Roots of Failure on Up From The Bitterroot
Born out of a winter’s seclusion in the deep woods of Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Skye Steele’s new album Up From The Bitterroot offers an unflinching chronicle of the downward arc of a crumbling marriage, the turmoil of separation, and the painful first steps of moving on. Set for release January 20, 2015 on HouseTown, this folk song cycle cuts a wide path from bluesy psychedelia to meditative dreamscapes, all of it gilded by the delicate improvising of a band of intimates and lead by Steele’s unmistakable voice and fiddle.
Check out first single “Hiromitsu & Yuko” on Soundcloud!
The album opens with the infectious barn-burner “The People Make The Music,” Steele’s manic homage to his salad days fiddling in the NYC subways as a teenager. But by track two we dive into an ocean of sorrow with “Hiromitsu & Yuko,” where he describes a home shattered by forces of nature that “Gave no notice like a jilted mistress / walked in throwing plates and pictures.” A lonely viola drifts over the 100-year-old Steinway dropping depth charges of dissonance, finally ebbing into the song’s arresting coda, a single line chanted over an eerie bitonal melody. The album’s narrative, at first outlined metaphorically, comes into focus as later songs push deeper into the confessional, parsing the searing quotidian desolation of a collapsing relationship on “You Be Yours.” On “New Mind / Old Mind” a crushed gritty trap kit propels us into psychedelic territory where Steele’s vocals howl with fury.
It is no accident that this album seems to contain a multitude of selves. It is the work of an artist who embodies a long list of complexities— don’t call them contradictions —the biracial, bisexual, son of an Army Officer, who has played violin since age three, and who has gone from busking in the trains to fiddling for artists ranging from hit-maker Vanessa Carlton to AACM stalwart Anthony Braxton. With Up From The Bitterroot, Steele has brought to bear his own multiplicity to reconcile the roots of bitter failure with a new blossoming of transformation.
Up From The Bitterroot
- The People Make The Music
- Hiromitsu & Yuko
- No Matter Love
- Wild We’ve Been
- Wild Mind
- New Mind / Old Mind
- My Mountainside
- You Be Yours
- In The Sun
- Your Silence
- Growing Song
10.01 Friends and Lovers - Brooklyn, NY
11.10 Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3 - New York, NY
11.12 AS220 - Providence, RI
11.13 BSP - Kingston, NY
11.14 Le Cagibi - Montreal, QC
11.15 Superfresh Organic Cafe - Brattleboro, VT
11.16 House Show - Torrington, CT
11.17 The Red Door - Portsmouth, NH
11.20 George’s - Canton, OH
11.21 The Store - Chicago, IL
11.22 Be Here Now - Munice, IN
11.24 House Show - Bowling Green, KY
11.25 Haymarket Whiskey Bar - Louisville, KY
11.26 East Room - Nashville, TN
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