If I didn’t have a Facebook account I probably wouldn’t know much about what goes on in the world of popular culture. I probably wouldn’t know much about what goes on in the real world either. But I do have a Facebook account and due to the nature of my side jobs I find myself perusing websites, which keep me in the loop of what the “kids” are listening to these days. My sentiments about what they are listening to would likely draw a picture of me as some old curmudgeon, which I am not, though I could understand being pegged as one seeing as most of my comments would likely be, at best, unkind.
I mention this only because there are certain musical performers who seem to get by more on their eccentricities than they do their actual talent. These days most popular music seems to be more suited to the corporeal spectacle of the artist, rather than the music itself. So it’s always that much more refreshing when one comes upon an artist like Asheville, North Carolina based singer songwriter Dulci Ellenberger. Ellenberger’s career began in 2006 with her initial project Now You See Them. In the years from then until now she has spent time perfecting her craft, not only singing but also playing guitar and percussion all around the world in places like New York City, Hawaii, Australia and various points around the southeastern US.
These years of travelling and perfecting her talents have finally culminated on her impressive solo debut I Can Feel It. From the very first track Ellenberger lays the mellow acoustic folk-pop foundation on which I Can Feel It is built. Even better she also swiftly displays her lush vocals, the added joy being that her lyrics are thoughtful and witty “It hurts being wrong/it’s worse being right,” she coos with confidence on the albums opener “Say Nothing.”
The title track “I Can Feel It” recalls the style of ‘50s pop rock re-popularized on the first few Belle & Sebastian records. Later on “Should I have stayed in Tonight” with its bouncy and catchy bass vs. drums core you realize how perfectly planned out the orchestral like arrangements are on these songs.
“Louder than words” sounds like a lounge act spin on early rhythm and blues vocal groups like The Temptations mixed with a bit of sixties psych-pop. It is yet another testament to the diversity of the songwriting Ellenberger employs on I Can Feel It. This is further evident on piano pop ballad “Donna, Don't Look,” which has a beautiful doo-wop finish. This is quite the contrast to the folky closer “Always Will Be.”
The songs on I Can Feel It are tangible to the soul. In my estimation when you find someone who is able to combine such rich vocal talent as Dulci Ellenberger has with meaningful lyrics and well thought out arrangements you hold on to it. I’m confident that after one listen to this beautiful debut, you’ll be hard pressed to let it go.
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