I became enamoured of Basia Bulat and her music early on during my college tenure at Drexel University while working to become a member of its student-run radio station WKDU. Bulat’s debut album Oh, My Darling, fresh off the presses, had made its way down to our basement broadcast location, coming from record label to post office to interdepartmental mail to the bin outside of our door and, finally, into my hands, placed right into a CD deck. From the whimisical ukelele opening tune “Before I Knew” to the waltzy anthem “The Pilgriming Vine,” and especially with the poppy autoharp-driven “In The Night,” I was hooked by Bulat’s sheer exhuberance, her soulful, strong voice, and melody-rich compositions (plus the video for “In The Night” is a favorite). A forged devotee, I’ve since followed her releases and tours adoringly, clinging to new music, like her sophomore release Heart Of My Own (2010) and her brilliant rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Touch The Hem Of His Garment.”
Last year, Basia Bulat released her latest album, Tall Tall Shadow, which sees her updating and enhancing her sound, experimenting with studio techniques, and adding richness and layering with new instrumentation. For my money, it’s her strongest album yet, drawing deep from the wells of acoustic folk, soul, and ’70s rock-and-roll, all heard through the prism of contemporary Canadian rock like Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, and Destroyer. At the center of the album, as usual, is Bulat’s voice, providing us with an anchor, a North Star, and a soul in each song.
Before her concert at the Boot & Saddle this past October, Basia Bulat stopped by the WXPN Performance Studio to record a stripped down solo set for Folkadelphia, including songs from Tall Tall Shadow and “Little Waltz” from Oh, My Darling.
Listen and love: