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Murmuration Nation
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  • Audio Mixer: Veronica Ferraro.
  • Recording information: Reservoir Studios, New York, NY.
  • Editor: Spencer Ward.
  • The debut solo outing from Indigo Girls' Emily Saliers, Murmuration Nation is a bold, versatile, and often beautiful collection of globally inspired pop songs that infuse the folk-rock/Americana stylings of her flagship group with elements of R&B, hard rock, and worldbeat. That may sound like a tall order in print, but Saliers and her core cast of players -- Tim LeFebvre (David Bowie, Tedeschi Trucks Band), Rachel Eckroth (KT Tunstall), Robert "Sput" Searight (Snarky Puppy), and Will Calhoun (Living Colour) -- breathe so much life into the set, that the frequent tonal shifts and offbeat arrangements never feel gimmicky or jarring. Kaleidoscopic opener "Spider" sets a high bar, veering fearlessly between progressive art-rock, '80s pop, and soul with both determination and grace. Follow-ups "Fly" and "Match" dial things back a bit, but never lose sight of the bigger musical picture, which according to Saliers was inspired partly by growing up in a predominantly African-American neighborhood in New Haven, Connecticut in the 1960s and `70s. Political, environmental, and socio-economic themes loom large throughout, but Saliers' still finds time to muse on the complexities of love, dipping back into country-folk on the vibrant "Long Haul," which features a guest vocal from Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles. Produced with equal parts pluck and warmth by violinist and perpetual Indigo Girls collaborator Lyris Hung, Murmuration Nation is obviously a labor of love, and while its mercurial nature may initially put off some of the more ardent Indigo Girls fans, it's myriad charms are revealed with each new spin, revealing a rich and complex musical tapestry that's as inclusive as it is boldly constructed. ~ James Christopher Monger
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