zaterdag 21 november 2020

No Harm Done. Josephine Foster

In my opinion it is fair to state that Josephine Foster's voice has the same impact as her male colleagues Neil Young and Bob Dylan have on many women. "If only this beautiful song was sung by someone else", my girlfriend regularly bemoans while hearing one of Dylan's classics (that I can't help but play regularly). From her female colleagues only Victoria Williams springs to mind, with one difference, I can't listen to her voice for more than a few seconds, so have no clue about the quality of her music.

On No Harm Done Josephine Foster musical snuggles close to country music, with a role for a pedal steel guitar, played by Matthew Schneider, in setting the tone for the album. The rhythm is laid down by the acoustic guitars that are slowly strummed but lay the foundation over which a minimum of frivolities are played. Two pedal steel guitars, each mixed to one side, a second guitar playing a few extra notes, an organ. That is about what makes up No Harm Done. Over it all hovers the voice of Josephine Foster, working hard to remain within the boundaries of the composition. The Arcadian picture presented in the cover art, certainly is reflected in the mood of this album.

It is in these little surprises that the album lights up at the right moments. Take the organ that escapes the mix at the end of 'Old Saw', the seven minutes plus song that ends No Harm Done. While the pedal steel keeps my one ear busy, the organ jumps up over the second pedal steel guitar in the other. It is in these delicate moments that I know why I like the album.

Promo photo
Promo photo
The album starts with a clear acoustic guitar intro. 'Freemason Drag' brings memories of circa 1970 British folk but also of a singer like Gillian Welch. Ms. Foster's voice flutters over the melody, a honky tonk piano plays a lazy solo over this 100% humid, warm summer's day song. All is so laidback and without a rush. It is simply too hard not to like Freemason Drag.

With the second song, 'The Wheel Of Fortune', country enters the album in the form of the pedal steel guitar. The lazy mood remains. The absence of percussion, I am in doubt whether I hear an incidental bass guitar note or the bass string of the acoustic guitar, gives the sound its openness. The mix as a whole is wide, creating an impression of spaciousness that adds to the atmosphere of No Harm Done.

To finalise, no I can't listen to all albums of Josephine Foster. In combination with the setting and songs on No Harm Done it works a miracle. No Harm Done is a beautiful album for those moments when listening to music is all one has to do.


You can listen to and order No Harm Done here:

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