Angie and the Deserters – Stay
“Stay” is a great, sensitivity felt piece from Southern California’s Angie and the Deserters. This new single from the band’s EP You finds the band successfully shifting gears from the amped up and countrified blues rock marking some of the material in favor of a much more low-key, but equally impassioned, approach that results in some of the best music you’ll hear this year. Bruyere has a versatile voice capable of invoking raucous honky tonk and nuanced emotion with equal skill, but her band is equally talented and adopts the principle of doing more with less. The Deserters never have to employ an assortment of instruments to make the song work; instead, with only a few colors at their disposal, Angie and the Deserters conjures up a world of feeling and emotion within the relatively small confines of this track. This is a powerful performance by any standard.
The heart of its power lies in Angie Bruyere’s vocal. This Potsdam New York native has Mississippi Delta soul in her vocals, burnished with a bit of rural charm, and she’s so good she’d likely make singing a grocery list compelling. She has a truly distinctive touch; despite possessing pipes capable of taking over any song, any style, Bruyere is very careful to mold her performance according to the song’s requirements. This means there’s an utter lack of self indulgence and showboating in this vocal. Her phrasing gives the lyrics an added dramatic layer that, divorced from her performance and music alike, turns relatively commonplace sentiments into the stuff of pure performed poetry. She sounds confident throughout and the way her voice complements the violin and string instruments alike further illustrates how closely she tailors the performance to the music surrounding her. “Stay” is, largely, all about her vocal and the message it delivers.
The message is one we’ve heard before, but Bruyere’s lyrics firmly place it in the context of her own life while still tying it to our individual experiences. She unleashes her interpretation of the lyrics in such a way that one might be lead to believe she thinks this is the first time anyone has ever felt this way, but it’s that once in a lifetime quality to her performance that will inspire admiration in the minds and hearts of this song’s future listeners. She chooses her words with a keen ear for what “Stay” needs and the same rigorous discipline applied to the musical arrangement guides the lyric writing as well. Neither element squanders opportunities or lays things on too thick. Instead, everything is focused and tailored to the goal of creating a memorable musical world for the listener and instruments like the violin and mandolin help Bruyere transport her audience, for a time, into a different world. There’s very little of Southern California or her native upstate New York background in this song. Instead, there’s just Angie Bruyere and her band, stripped of all pretense, and earnestly communicating from the heart with a hopefully large audience. “Stay” should get her a ton of praise and every word is deserved.