Tara Shupe = Mandolin Orange + Greensky Bluegrass
Utah multi-instrumentalist Tara Shupe just released her newest project, Destroyer. This album is a timeless and wildly collaborative Americana folk album featuring many other local musicians. Each of the six tracks is about four minutes long, and all are filled with instrumental depth.
The album opens with “Voices Rising,” a classic bluegrass song that dives straight into a quick-playing instrumental intro on the dobro, mandolin, banjo and fiddle. Subtle harmony vocals back Shupe, while the string instruments take turns in the spotlight. Between the subtle bass, acoustic guitar and dobro, Shupe and company exhibit a spitfire spirit of acoustic bluegrass.
“Destroyer” is a quicker-paced, timeless Americana folk song, fixated on quick picks on the banjo with Bart Olson on the drums and Shupe on the fiddle. While Shupe’s vocals are the foreground, Clark Johnson and Megan Simper harmonize, most notably when together they sing the chorus, “Destroyer,” driving force into the sensation of the word.
“There is a Right” is a slower folk ballad and an intimate collaboration. Each note stitches together contemporary elements of folk with an old-timey feel, fusing subtle chords on the electric guitar with soft bowing on the fiddle and cello. Eli West harmonizes as Shupe poetically croons, “I could bring the meaning to the lost years / If I am the wrong / There is a right.”
Tracks like “Finally Free” and “Battle Songs” are feel-good tunes at the intersection of folk and to bluegrass. Between acoustic guitar strums and quick fingerpicking and chords on the banjo, the fiddle falls in and out with a mid-paced airy rhythm and tranquil tone.
Shupe demonstrates her ability to collaborate with this batch of multi-dimensional songs and hone in on the beauty and complexity of Americana, folk and bluegrass. She takes Destroyer to next-level good by capitalizing on thriving local talent to strengthen and deepen her vision while still managing to stand out and add a fiddling flair to each song. You can visit her website tarashupe.com to watch the music video for “Destroyer” and learn more about her and her music. –Lizz Corrigan