Audra Mae – Haunt EP

Audra Mae - Haunt EP

Audra Mae - Haunt EP

Has Audra Mae opened for Neko Case yet? If not, she should! This young Oklahoman possesses one of those hauntingly beautiful voices that could just about fit with any style of music, but finds a home in the midst of country noir/folk/Americana. The songs are simple affairs, but have all the soul and drama of the best their peers.

Opening track “The River” makes me think of a hushed but earnest gospel tune while “The Fable” has that country noir feel that some of Neko Case’s early albums possessed in abundance. This track is soft and somber, with Audra Mae’s delectable vocals at the forefront. “Eli, The Barrow Boy” and “One Silver Dollar” are also worthy entries on Mae’s debut, as both could be taken straight from an old Western film.

It’s the final track on the five song Haunt EP, “Sullivan’s Letter”, that truly sets this small collection apart. Here, Audra Mae crafts the text of a letter written from Civil War soldier Sullivan Ballou to his wife just 7 days before his death at the first Battle of Bull Run. Sullivan’s letter never actually reached his 24-year old wife, who never remarried and lived to 80. As Audra sings the premonitory lines, “When a breeze brushes against your cheek heaven is sending you my breath. Oh, my Sarah dear, do not mourn me dead, think I am gone and wait for me for me for we shall meet again” you can vividly image the anguish at leaving your young family behind to fight in a deadly war.

Although Haunt isn’t the typical fare released by Side One Dummy, it is a stark and beautiful EP surely deserving of wide release and wide reaching acclaim. Audra Mae’s disc has been out since last October, but is one you shouldn’t pass up if country noir gives you the chills.

Side One Dummy