Singer/songwriter Kass Richards will release her debut solo album, entitled The Language Shadow, out December 4, via Good Cry Records. Following an overactive tour schedule with U.S. Girls, Richards was one among a scattering of musicians chosen by Meg Remy to help record her LP Heavy Light (4AD) album at Montreal’s Hotel2Tango studio. Witnessing Remy and co-producer Basia Bulat co-ordinate into life a set of stunningly reflective songs was the ignition moment for Richards, consolidating a framework for the creation of The Language Shadow. Crossing the Canadian border again once Heavy Light had wrapped, Richards found herself in communion with a skeleton crew of holdovers from the initial U.S. Girls sessions, including engineer Shae Brossard. They kept the chemistry of that session alive, tracking Kass’ vocals and guitar live before improvising the subtly refined arrangements further.
Richards was born in the Shenandoah Valley just east of Patsy Cline’s home town (a common weary Virginian break of the voice may be detected), Richards made use of the Blue Ridge Mountains in orienting herself as a youth. She found a similar guiding familiarity in the Irish, Scottish and British balladry adapted by the Appalachian region in generations past. The meanings ingrained in this people-powered storytelling music was molecularly absorbed. The simple integrity of the arrangements that compose The Language Shadow complement a plainspoken-ness in the face of sorrow. Produced in part by Basia Bulat (a fellow singer who revels in the personal reinvention of folk forms), open resonances from Richards’ nylon string and Appalachian dulcimer playing are complemented by spare cello and organ lines. The occasional presence of treated guitar (played by Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury), mellotron (U.S. Girls’ Geordie Gordon) and spare synth playing by Bulat. Ahead of the album’s release Kass Richards has shared the single “Atlantis.”
The Language Shadow
Good Cry Records
1. Full Fathom Five
6. You Go Astray
10. Dancing to Death
Pre-order The Language Shadow here