I have always had a fondness for the simple things in life – beer, for example – but the reality is that even the simple things in life require skill if they are to be made worthwhile. Taking that thought into the world of music leads me neatly on to Dar Stellabotta and her album “One Woman Jam”.
Dar Stellabotta, it would seem, has made an album using only a homemade cigar box guitar, a kick drum, some distortion inducing electronics and her own spirit. With such limited opportunities for musical expression forced upon her by her choice of instruments, it would be wrong to expect anything approaching virtuosity or, indeed, complexity yet there is an appealing directness – one might even say honesty - to her approach that proves refreshing to ears normally numbed by volume maximisation and sequenced standardisation.
Her voice falters more than few times over the course of this album yet this is easy to overlook as her focus and, dare I say it, humour carry the tune for her. The evidence? The pseudo country “Sludge Truck” is enough to make anyone want to (temporarily) join a convoy while “Tractor” taps the American dream for inspiration and power chords. However, the best song here is actually the most obvious in terms of content but that does not stop Dar Stellabotta from unexpectedly launching “Beautiful Star” into the indie pop firmament.
In summary, “One Woman Jam” is more than sweet enough for me.