Missoula singer-songwriter Britt Arnesen has a new solo effort out called Dream in Blue. The Alaska native, who has been in Montana for eight years since she migrated here to play with Richie Reinholdt, has other albums to her credit and plays in several bands.
This time around, she accompanies herself on an antique 1891 Martin “parlor-size” guitar, known back in the day as a “ladies’” model. On loan from California for this venture, it has gut strings and is tuned to the old standard for musical pitch, which is a bit lower than today’s 440 Hz. The instrument gives Arnesen’s sound a chunky, thick resonance that complements her soft, childlike voice.
The pieces span the country, folk and blues genres; 11 are her originals, and the last is an instrumental called “Going Home,” based on Dvorák’s “New World Symphony.” Arnesen fingerpicks her way through the album cuts, sprinkling guitar riffs around verses and adding her own two- and three-part harmonies.
The title tune, “Dream in Blue,” is country and jazzy, with an interesting chord progression. “Ciel Étoilé,” with its snappy nursery-rhyme feel, is sung in French; it appeared on an earlier album, but with more instrumentation. “L’Aubergine” finds Arnesen pickin’ the blues, and “Row Away” sounds like a sea chanty, with its minor mood and whiff of revenge. I like this one!
“No Kind of Angel,” with a melody that borrows bits of the “Tennessee Waltz,” is about a husband who travels a lot, leaving his spouse pondering fidelity. “She wonders if he’s faithful, she’s no kind of angel,” go the lyrics.
For more, visit www.907britt.com.
– Mariss McTucker