Orenda Fink‘s new solo album, Ask the Night, finally arrives Tuesday, 10/6 on Saddle Creek, the same label home as beautiful Azure Ray, of which she’s half.
Ask the Night, Fink’s sophomore album, goes completely analog, featuring an all-star cast of contributors on acoustic instruments including mandolin, resonant stand-up bass, backwoods banjo and singing saw. The songs were inspired by traditional American folk music and Southern Gothic literature.
The best of the songs, which flow sweetly, highlighting Fink’s inescapably lush and dreamy voice, were co-written by Fink and Chris Lawson. In fact, the opener (Why is the Night Sad) is strong enough and spacious enough to brand a lasting impression of attachment to Orenda Fink’s voice and to overcome the occasional didactic nature (The Garden and Alabama) dangerous to folk tunes. Just past midway through the album, Wind flies in light, spry and freespirited. Dense and intriguing layers invite a deeper listen to The Mural. Half-Light follows, serious and heavy but not oppresive. I wish the record ended here. Instead, there’s a last shorty that feels like fluff-folk, detracting from the richness Orenda Fink has to offer. Overall, Ask the Night is a winner for time spent with Orenda Fink’s lovely vocals, authentic old-style instrumentation as well as complementary vocal harmonies. Buy Ask the Night and keep it in your car for solo drives or for times when you just need the blanket of a rainy day.