THe Midnight Pine

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Shelbi Bennett

Arcane sounds rise and fall in the background of Midnight Pine's ethereal take on folk music. The band's lush harmonies and traditional acoustic forms inhabit eerie, desolate landscapes where chains rattle, saw blades quiver, and modulated radio signals murmur from the distance like distorted messages from the other side.
 
All these layers are built around the soulful gifts of young siren Shelbi Bennett. Her richly dynamic voice may adopt the sweet and serene hues of Appalachian gospel/Irish folk singer, or the raw seductive power of a cabaret chanteuse. Bennett leads the Midnight Pine's spectral folk tunes with spirited self-possession, composing songs, harmonies and haunting sounds with guitarist/vocalist Matt Molarius (Transfer) and lyricist/percussionist Alfred Howard (K23, The Heavy Guilt).
 
Midnight Pine's sophomore release, "Buried" found a home on tastemaking LA radio station KCRW, chosen by DJ Chris Muckley as one of 2014’s top albums and earning plays on award winning KCRW program β€œMorning Becomes Eclectic.”

 

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"Those that want to find something different should investigate these stunners: pleasing familiarity commingle with new and brave sounds- the effect is phenomenal." -Musical Musings and Such


"On Buried, the group walks the line between modern and vintage with ease, while appearing to pay little mind to either. Theirs is an atmospheric, almost gothic style of folk that can be chilling, like on the vibraphone-accented "Hey There," or gently earthy, as on "Edge of Town." Every song is gorgeously arranged, ranging from noisy and ominous ("Mother of Amends") to drunken torch-song burlesque ("Tears")." - San Diego CityBeat

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The Midnight Pine

Timbre has always been a signature component of The Midnight Pine's spectral recordings and live shows. Shelbi Bennett's velvety smooth voice floats over spatial western blues, faintly augmented by home-made instruments and whirring, vaporous backgrounds. With it's third, eponymous record, The Midnight Pine turns up its sound, delivering almost sculptural renderings that veer into alt country and soul, reveling in instrument textures and harmonies that feel as vital to the songs as the compositions themselves.

On the album's opener, Broken Wing, woozy piano strikes, guitar strums and slides shimmer and sway around a bassy western waltz. The mood shifts and horns punch in to bolster the hip-shaking soul jam of Vice, followed by the slow burn torch song Barricade. Other highlights include the 60s pop infused Mockingbird, the 60s folk influenced Fortress, and the dramatically unfolding waltz Mother of Wolves, sung in resounding harmony with guitarist and backing vocalist Matthew Molarius (Transfer).

 Bennett's lilting lead vocals swing easily from sweet to powerful in the tradition of Judy Collins and Cass Elliott. The album's vintage recording techniques also reveal a fondness for the roomy, bright recordings of that era. Bennett wrote these songs in partnership with lyricist/percussionist Alfred Howard, keyboardist Josh Rice and Molarius. Howard and Molarius also recorded and produced The Midnight Pine, calling on the talented pool of session players of their Redwoods record label to help them flesh out the tunes of this follow up to The Midnight Pine's well received second release, Buried.

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Awake Now is the auspicious debut that gives 11 original tunes an infusion of Trinity Session soul, while showcasing Bennett on a batch of ear-catching tunes, captured by producer Tim Felton with an unhurried, drummerless sound that is ghostly, ethereal, and three-dimensional. A loose aggregate of cohorts that includes Sean Martin and Josh Rice from the Guilt on guitars and keyboards, and Felton (Black Sands) playing and turning knobs, are among the musicians on board.