Lost in the dreamy folk of Marissa Nadler

by Ryo Miyauchi

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The 14-year career of folk musician Marissa Nadler has been an impressive one. Nadler has released one intriguing record after another throughout her now seven-album discography. “July,” her latest record, is no different. In the album, Nadler’s songs sound even richer and dreamier than before. With her new material, Nadler is bound to take her audience to a surreal place through her songs when she performs at the Soda Bar on Feb. 23.

Nadler writes folk music following the traditional way of the genre. Much like the greats, her music focuses on storytelling and conversations. She often sings about past memories, especially in the songs on “July.” Nadler’s tunes ring bittersweet as she hangs onto them as a heartbreaking experience, yet so precious at the same time. Take her current single, “Dead City Emily,” a tribute to a friend who stood by Nadler’s side during past relationships.

“I was falling apart those days,” Nadler opens with a shaky voice. Later in the chorus she sings, “Every other man would have run away / Emily was something more.”

While Nadler’s acoustic guitar strumming has remained soft as a whisper as on her past records, her new songs sound smokier in “July.” Compared to her previous self-titled album, the songs in “July” are easier to get lost in. The translucent feel of her music comes alive best in her song “Was It a Dream.”

“Was it a Dram?” Nadler questions, following with “Or was it something sinister?” That unsure feeling of whether it was dream or reality runs strong in the song. As her voice fades away, the track leaves a chilly sensation.

Nadler will be playing her fascinating songs live on Sunday, Feb. 23. For those looking for music that can relieve some stress, Nadler and her music should drift those issues away with ease. “July” is perfect Sunday night music, perhaps even better experienced live. Nadler’s songs may feel like a dream, but the experience from her music is as real as it gets.

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