Nightlight, Chapel Hill
June 9, 2011
Summer in Chapel Hill's Alt Country music culture is announced by sun dresses and cowboy boots, trumpeting along the edge of a warm Thursday evening last week rode two dozen such cherubs who winged down the ally way and into the warm red glow of Nightlight. Attracted by the smooth witness of folk rock music and the cheer of a gathering they alighted with song on their lips and sparkle in their eyes. As I arrived at their heels, the wonderfully descript in form and name Skylar Gudasz and the Ugly Girls were rallying in mid set. I joined in and found my stand within the half circle of couches and bodies which had formed about the stage filling the room with clam cool demeanor. Not a chance encounter by any stretch, Skylar has of late been on my too-see list for a couple of good whyfor. Their debut album Two Headed Monster was recorded at Arbor Ridge Studios by Jeff Crawford and given the album's penchant for hazy retro vintage touch and feel I'll hedge that Crawford as well lent tutelage in production. Arbor Ridge has carved itself into that extra generational Alt Country vibe with which Carborro and Chapel Hill flows and their brand is worth seeking anytime you are on the street. Upon two streams of the album now, I've come to the same end of drifting into a film grain daydream of 1970's mellow drama cinema. Perhaps Gudasz' powerful yet delicate rasp is akin to the vanguard divas of the classic rock era, or maybe the story book lyrics and complex vintage arrangements call upon the past...something there is triggering nostalgia. And with that album shimmering on the merch stand behind the crowd and the stage, their live performance ranged like an untamed yearling, loose from the halter and passing both modish rockers and heartfelt ballads alike toward a galloping escape. Folk rock is at its best when it carries you away to experience something you wouldn't have without it. Skylar Gudasz and the Ugly Girls have demonstrated this quality on stage and in their recordings. --Carrboro Ninja
Skylar Gudasz and the Ugly Girls perform next at Open Eye Cafe in Carrboro, NC on June 25th 2011. Jeff Crawford and Liz Janes share the billing. 8 pm.
Andrea Connolly lead voice for local darling folk trio Birds and Arrows shared the stage with Skyler for a couple songs
adorable left to right; Jess Streeteam, Stacy Thomas, Kala Wolfe, Anna Rose Beck