Apr 6, 2008

Nelson's Aspen Switzer plays in Vancouver

Four flats above the Cobalt, crammed into a newish East Van apartment this Friday night, gathered a crowd of young Vancouverites, eager to take in Aspen Switzer, a new folksy Canadian musical artist, on the western leg of her recent cross-Canada tour.

Flanked by Jessa Koerber's harmonic vocals on one side, and Jesse Lee's acoustic on the other, Switzer and her banjo plowed through the familiar titles from her CD, "Narrow Sky," then added a selection from an upcoming album before ending the first set with her rendition of the progressively political, "Jerusalem Revisited."

The trio's sound - banjo, acoustic guitar, keyboard, and unassisted vocals - came across fully balanced in the intimate and crowded room. Switzer and Koerber's two-part harmonies, solid on their own, would occasionally gain depth from Lee's third-part assistance. Demonstrating an octave range as long as his string-plucking digits, Lee wasted no opportunity to dip from harmonies down into tenor, providing a well received vocal bottom end to round the trio out nicely.

The content of Switzer's Kootenay inspired lyrics detailed personal development, relationships, and her surroundings, without fear of delving into various social and political issues.

You're not likely to see Aspen on Canadian Idol anytime soon, and we're thankful for that. With a few more CD's under her belt, an expanded politically-charged repertoire, along with a decidedly feminist approach to song-writing, Canadians will benefit from a home-grown mainstay - an old soul with a young voice, refreshingly unique and increasingly rare amidst iTunes' overly commercialized fare.

Lend a listen to Aspen Switzer with Thistledown, on Myspace:

or her website

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