Back in my CD-slinging days (remember CDs?) a new release would arrive pre-stickered “For fans of,” a bald-faced marketing ploy to hitch a new artist to the sound or musician du jour.
I can imagine California songwriter Margaret Glaspy’s latest release, Emotions And Math, arriving affixed with: “For fans of Norah Jones” or “As heard on NPR.” Perhaps you know Glaspy from her recent Tiny Desk Concert.
These pitches aren’t exactly wrong. Glaspy does have a kind of sensual, Billie Holiday-via-Norah Jones sibilant singing voice. And many songs (“No Matter Who,” for example) ride that kind of mid-tempo, pop-blues-soul but ultimately “meh” sound, common amongst NPR’s most darling picks.
But stopping there would be a little lazy because you’d be ignoring how Glaspy allows her chosen instrument, the guitar, to run intriguingly raw and ragged. And the album’s production tends toward dry and rough around the edges.
Overall, Glaspy comes off more like Liz Phair than might be expected at first blush. “I don’t want to watch my mouth,” she declares on track “Pins and Needles,” and “You and I” showcases a Beatles-esque guitar riff and chord changes.
Glaspy comes to Eugene supporting Portland indie-folk-pop band Blind Pilot, touring behind their new release And Then Like Lions. The album is Blind Pilot’s first since 2011.
And if you’ve been wondering how Blind Pilot’s sound has changed in the interim, suffice it to say: They’re still strummy and sweetly down-in-the-mouth — like a long line and a rainy day preventing you from eating at that new Portland café you had your heart set on trying.
Margaret Glaspy opens for Blind Pilot 8 pm Sunday, Oct. 23, at Hi-Fi Music Hall; $15 adv., $18 door. All ages. — William Kennedy