Sunday, March 13, at the Riot Room
Basia Bulat’s autoharp wasn’t cutting it. After releasing three albums and performing hundreds of shows, the Canadian singer-songwriter closely associated with her mastery of the autoharp seemed to be stuck in a rut. In spite of her formidable skills as a vocalist, composer and instrumentalist, Bulat had yet to realize her artistic and commercial potential.
Jim James to the rescue.
The eccentric and brilliant leader of My Morning Jacket produced Bulat’s new album, “Good Advice.” James gave Bulat a musical makeover by placing her propensity for twee folk in an effusive pop framework. The transformation allows Bulat to showcase her profound talent in a more flattering setting.
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Several of Bulat’s new songs are particularly striking. “La La Lie” is perfect pop. “Fool” is timeless blue-eyed soul. “In the Name of” evokes the grandeur of My Morning Jacket’s catchiest material.
The cheerful sound doesn’t completely cloak Bulat’s darkest impulses. The rapturous “Someday Soon” is either about the death of a relationship or the mortality of all living things. As Bulat repeatedly croons, “We’ll be gone someday soon,” listeners might be torn between following Bulat’s tour across North America or fleeing in terror.
The Weather Station, a Canadian folk-rock project overseen by Tamara Lindeman, opens Sunday’s show.
Tickets are $12 in advance through theriotroom.com.