Crystal Bright and The Silver Hands announce new album, Muses and Bones

Crystal Bright

Photo by Rusty McDonald

The one-sheet bona fides for Crystal Bright include lots of travel, dancing with Spain’s Romani, residing in an anarchist collective, working in Yellowstone, and an educational background in Anthropology and Ethnomusicology. Not surprising, then, that her past experiences playing and singing various styles – Mariachi, Chinese, Balinese Gamelan, Ugandan, Samba – would inform her music, including her March 27 sophomore release, Muses & Bones. (Though, as is increasingly the norm, the album is already available online, via Bandcamp.)

The 13 tracks are also influenced by the likes of P.J. Harvey, Bjork, Yann Tiersen and the Gotan Project, and bolstered by the Silver Hands, the Greensboro-based Bright’s backing band of Diego Diaz (guitar), Sandy Blocker (percussion) and Jeremy Denman from the hip-hop group Urban Sophisticates on trumpet.

But the music here doesn’t rely on local geography – or, to be more accurate, any one geography. Swirling carnival waltzes and blaring border canciónes inhabit the same folk-lore turf as Bright’s noir-ish forest-friendly narratives, which lean toward topics surrounding the pagan and mystical side of feminine power.

Bright plays a host of instruments, from the exotic adungu (a Ugandan harp) and bombo (an Argentine drum) to piano, accordion, concertina and musical saw. She’s also armed with an operatic voice – a bit like Kate Bush – well-suited to the occasionally melodramatic fare. Muses & Bones is a lush voyage brought to life by Bright and her band, and a departure from more typical Carolinas’ genres. —JG Mellor

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