advance press for The Stars Fall Shooting Into Twangsville:
“I’m just as pretty as my songs need me to be,” Cindy Emch sings on “End of Pretty,” the fifth track on The Stars Fall Shooting into Twangsville. The song speaks openly about how much it hurts to not be seen the way your thinner, “prettier” counterparts are. It is about how hard things can be when you don’t fit into the narrow ideals of what a woman should look like. It has a bitter bite to it, its sadness accented by Carolyn Mark’s harmonies and Tolan McNeil’s gorgeous twanged-out guitar solo. But in the end, the pain is overtaken by a realization that, as Cindy wrote in the album notes: “I’d rather the songs be pretty and be in service to that [more] than I care about being magazine cover ready.” The songs on The Stars Fall Shooting are pretty and gritty, sexy and sad. The album leads you down the roads and rivers of the US and Canada, takes you on a tour of the bars and faded night streets of New Orleans, New York, Oakland, and Victoria. The music is a mix of everything from honky tonk to alt-country, to jazz and zydeco and punk, and it slides into your ears like a good blend of rye whiskies sliding down your throat. Sweet and warm, with just enough of a burn. Cindy Emch’s voice is by turns low and sultry, bluesy and ballsy. The words are haunted, haunting.
Stand-out tracks include: “Two Feet and a Dream” (a honky-tonkin’ hot jazz number that implores you to shake your ass). “Jagged Edges” (a sad and lovely waltz-time duet; the interplay between Cindy and Tolan’s voices will break your heart). “Had Enough” (it features guest vocals by Carolyn Mark, and one of my favorite lyrics on the album—“stars hang heavy, wet and blue”). And “Songs Are All We’re Left With” (a swinging, rollicking tune with a zydeco-style accordion riff and an X/Knitters vibe; and oh, the way Cindy growls “when you walked away”).
But the song I keep returning to is “End of Pretty,” because I feel the sentiment of that song is the sentiment that lies at the heart of The Stars Fall Shooting. See, Cindy Emch and her musical comrades give Americana to those of us on the edges of American culture. The songs on this album become our anthems. We might not be the ones on the covers of glossy magazines. We might not be conventionally pretty, we might be queer or otherwise marginalized. We might be “crazy and witchy,” but that’s just fine as long as we can shake our asses and drink with our friends. We’ve got the road, and we’ve got the stories of our lives. And these stories, with all their heartbreak and hauntedness, may not always be pretty…but they are goddamn beautiful." - Jessie McMains, Poet Laureate of Racine, WI / Music Writer
poster design by J McLaughlin