Just over a decade ago I photographed a young singer-songwriter by the name of AdriAnne Lenker (I believe she was capitalizing the second ‘A’ at the time) at an Uptown Bar showcase for up-and-coming musicians. At the time Lenker, a teenager, was trying her hand at an earnest brand of folk pop.
Ten years later Lenker is the lead singer/songwriter for acclaimed indie band Big Thief. It would be incredible to see what just happened in that span of time, but to summarize Lenker left Minnesota for the East Coast, attended the Berklee School of Music, and oh yeah, somewhere along the way she managed to perfect her songcraft.
Big Thief’s sophomore effort, Capacity, showcases just how far Lenker and the band have come. It’s a uniquely crafted, pristinely performed, piece of haunting folk rock. Lenker writes heart breaking songs of violence and loss, her prose evoking intense introspection arranged into beautiful and lyrical compositions.
The band behind Lenker are more than up to the task. The trio, composed of Buck Meek, Max Oleartchik, and James Krivchenia, have honed their craft to a fine edge. Whether the arrangements are intimately spare, or raucous and raw, the guitar, bass, and drums convey the dynamic perfectly, and expertly drive home the images and feelings Lenker conveys in her words.
Big Thief will perform songs from Capacity (as well as others) this coming Wednesday at the Cedar Cultural Center (tix here). The band’s confessional songs should make for a great pairing with the Cedar’s intimate space.