I was unfamiliar with Andy Shauf although once he started playing, I thought his songs sounded familiar. One of the more interesting thing about him is his singing enunciation (which reminds me a bit of SOAK for a recent comparison–although she is from Northern Ireland and he is from Saskatchewan).
It’s interesting to me that Shauf plays only rhythm guitar–all of the melody lines and solos come from his keyboardist. It’s also interesting how motionless Shauf is. He stands quite still and doesn’t even really move as he sings (his voice is mellow but not exactly quiet).
“The Magician” has as some great riffs from the keyboard and some interesting chord changes as the song draws to and end. And of course, Shauf’s calming, delightful voice (complete with do do do dos) make the song quite lovely.
“To You” sounds similar to the first–same basic tempo and tone, with nice little fills that elevate the song from a simple chord structure.
His final song, “You’re Out Wasting” is “an older song” from his last album. There’s another great melody running through this song and it’s a bit more uptempo.
I’m not sure if it’s his hair or his posture but he looks uncomfortably hunched-over while playing. But that doesn’t stop his voice from sounding great and his songwriting from being really enjoyable.
[READ: February 2, 2016] Slow Storm
I really like the way Novgorodoff works with watercolors to create cool backgrounds. However, I don’t really like the way she uses her pen–I don’t care for the look of her characters. And I don’t love the hand lettering all that much either.
This story is one that I wouldn’t read if it weren’t a First Second book. And while I’m glad I read it and I found the convergence s of characters to be really interesting, it was a rough road getting thee.
The story begins with no words, just a series of images that juxtapose a tornado/storm and the Kentucky Derby. The storm is hitting a barn where horses are kept, so these horses are also running, but hey are frightened of course (I especially didn’t like the style of the frightened horses).
Then we see a man get hurled by the tornado into a barn.
Cut to a red-headed woman, Ursa, in a car listening to the radio. She is a firefighter and when she gets to work her brother (also red-headed) starts making fun of her. He’s a real dick. And I hate him. As does the woman.
Then we cut back to the barn and see that it is on fire and all of the man’s possessions are burning up.
What a dark, unpleasant beginning.
We flashback to the man coming into the country illegally (I like that the coyotes are represented as actual coyotes). We see him mistreated until he finds work at the barn that has just brunt down.
The firefighters are called to the burning barn .
Despite Ursa’s obvious firefighting skills, she is teased and picked on for being a woman. God I hated this story.
She seeks some revenge on her brother (which is horrifying but strangely satisfying). And then the two stories converge. Ursa meets the Mexican man (whose name is Rafi). He flees from her thinking that she is police. But eventually they sit in the cab of her truck and talk.
The owner of the barn wants Rafi to be given to the police but Ursa can’t bring herself to do it.
The story can’t end well, but it doesn’t end horribly either.
I’m glad I read it, but I did not enjoy it.