Noaa Rienecker is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocalist from Inverness, California. After leaving the Berklee College of Music, he spent the last half decade rambling and busking from San Francisco to Serbia with notable and formative stays in the UK, New Orleans, Texas, and Brazil. His rambling-traveling adventures contributed majorly to his writing and playing. Rienecker’s songwriting deals with heartache, addiction and the vicissitudes of wanderlust. Often sardonic, funny and melancholy, he uses a broad range of styles – from straight-up bluegrass, to Paul-Simon flavored pop. Along with original numbers, Noaa’s debut EP Saltwater, also includes his unique treatments of traditional tunes.
Rienecker states that Saltwater was done with virtually no budget. He struggled to stay afloat and healthy in between what he calls a “physically and spiritually brutal” six-week season working at Burning Man event, a trip to the UK to play music and in the midst of that, a breakup with his girlfriend. Madison Bohrer, who records artists under the name Maddog Sounds and who happens to play a mean saxophone, was generous enough to engineer the EP. During his stay in the UK, Rienecker met an incredibly talented young artist named Ivy Langley – she did the recording’s cover art.
The EP starts off with the titled “Saltwater” – a traditional sounding, “campy” (as Rienecker put it), bluegrass styled number with some great instrument change ups, just enough to give it a modern twist. Great ending, too! Also playing on “Saltwater” is Casey Holmberg (banjo and vocals) and Noa Laniakea (double bass). Both come from the band Fog Holler. “Cool Colorado” gives off a nice “cool” sound in this interpretive traditional tune – bluesy and folkish packaged in a singer/songwriter style. It kind of reminded me of Leon Redbone in a way, just not with that Redbone signature voice though.
Another traditional number is “New Railroad” and if you’re into lots of guitar picking this song is for you! “Right on Time” features a full sound, complete with drums, mandolin and double bass. Reese Bullen, a dear friend of Rienecker’s and the drummer of Sun Hop, plays on this tune. Rienecker channels Neil Young, as his band’s bio points out and I’d have to agree. It reminds me of the style Young had on albums like Harvest Moon. The last song is “Only Blues” a delicate sounding tune with a bouncing rhythm and more great picking style. Rienecker’s superbly sings his heart out on this one. If you enjoy, contemporary Americana moods with folk and bluegrass styles mixed in, I suggest you check out Noaa Rienecker’s fantastic and well produced debut Saltwater.
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