I come back again and again to trying to proselytize the appeal of the plainspoken folk blues song. Among well-trained musicians, I feel there is rarely a full appreciation of the craft. Thankfully, Moe Provencher has made my argument for me.
I assume Moe is a trained, talented musician. Her song on Ball of Wax 48 with an Arabic title was a highlight in the history of Ball of Wax. From that song, I heard what I took to be masterful use of rhythm, well-chosen chord progression, and an understanding of vocal line. That song is sweeping, emotive, and extremely contemporary, to my ear. “The Light Is You” moves differently. Understated. With a personalized style of arpeggiating that suggests a history studying folk—or at least of internalizing it. There is no excess, just honesty. Clean guitar lines, clean progressions, and words sung that everyday people speak.
When you listen to this folk blues music excessively, as I do, finding someone who can express themselves through their choice of how they strike the strings, how they arpeggiate a chord, can be especially compelling. Finding someone who finds the right spacing for the vocal line. These are qualities that are rare but deeply appreciated.
Moe Provencher, on “The Light is You,” presents a timeless, intimate song, raising the bar for contemporary interpretation of this tradition.