TRACKING: Black Prairie - "How Do You Ruin Me"

SOUNDS LIKE:A 60s James Bond movie theme played over the credits, backed by an Americana band

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Oh, you’ve been there, asked yourself this very question. This song just makes it prettier.

Black Prairie features five Portland, OR, musicians who came together around 2007 to explore a more acoustic and instrumental sound. Three members of the Decemberists, Chris Funk (guitar), Nate Query (bass) and Jenny Conlee (accordion) are joined by Jon Neufeld (guitar) and Annalisa Tornfelt (violin). Adding Tornfelt’s voice to a few songs came as an afterthought, and most of the band’s focus stays on creating instrumentals based in folk and bluegrass traditions.

 “How do you ruin me” highlights Tornfelt’s vocal as she answers the difficult question the song poses.  Her delicate, warm voice responds with a series of contradictory answers over a circus (clutter) of sounds. A mournful violin, a chuckling accordion, a jerky drumbeat all heighten the sense of indecision - is this ruin a good thing or bad – and ultimately leaving the questions unanswered as her voice and the music suddenly fall silent.