otato Moon is a band that I’ve heard on WYCE and seen live in downtown Rockford, yet they never clicked with me until I got their newer album, After the Harvest, from the library. This 2008 album has 32 tracks, some of them full songs, some snippets that sound like movie scores, some of them short traditional songs arranged beautifully.
The full-length songs, mostly written by Ben Stancil, are the most original folk songs I’ve heard since Gillian Welch. Yet they’re still catchy, earthy, timeless, and genuine. The main vocals, too, are strong. Jane Jones, who I believe to be the main female vocalist, has a voice that can do anything. It’s a huge voice. She could easily be a jazz vocalist so her voice works well with the genre-bending songs of the album.
Ben Stancil’s production is great, too. The vocals act as strings and other sounds enter with them like the wind. This entire album was recorded in a span of five July days in 2007. That attributes to the seamless, unified feeling of all the songs. The only complaint I have is that it’s too quiet. Not literally, but it just feels like they should be yell-singing these songs. It sounds like they’re writing in mechanical pencil when they should be using a bold, black Sharpie. The songs are strong, but could sound stronger with bolder production.
I encourage you to check out this CD, which was recorded right in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The fact that they’re local doesn’t mean much because they’re so good. This is not a “support your local artist just because they’re local” post. To hear them will be nothing but beneficial to your SOUL! Wherever you are!