By Jordan Ottesen
Those familiar with Aubree Liz’s music might be a bit surprised with this EP. It’s not that it veers away from her sound. In fact, these are all tunes she’s been playing for a while around town. Rather, it’s a much bigger and fleshed out sound than what you usually hear when she posts a phone video of a new tune recorded in her living room.
Under the name Roadie, Aubree Liz is proudly announcing to the world that she’s more than just a girl with a guitar: she’s full of intentional and soulful sound, and more than capable of creating a full production. She’s added a full rhythm section, calculated electric guitars, choirs, instrumental solos, and even a gnarly instrumental breakdown in “If You Knew” to create a new take on folk rock as a whole.
“All the World” is an excellent example of how much effort was put into this album from a production standpoint. Almost as if to paint a picture of her journey from a solo act to a full band, it begins the way Aubree’s music has – just her and a guitar. It progresses slowly into a larger sound with the bass sneaking in, then some smooth vocal harmonies accompanied by an electric guitar, then drums, then eventually evolving into a full choir. In the end, the song brings it all full circle with just her and her guitar again, seemingly reminding the listener, “this is where it all started.”
The use of a choir throughout the album is tastefully done. She brings them in frequently enough for it to feel commonplace, but doesn’t give you so much that it grows invasive. It leaves the listener wanting more, and the only way to really get more is to just listen to the songs again. And again. And maybe a few more times for good measure.
“If You Knew” might be the boldest song on this album, involving every bit of her production toolkit. With the full choir, powerful and rolling drum track, and a super groovy instrumental deconstruction of everything sweet, it’s all beautifully woven into a musical tapestry of epic proportions. This song tells the world Aubree Liz is just as ready to rock as she is to sing sweet love ballads.
Throughout the whole EP is Aubree’s smooth but soulful mezzo-soprano voice tying everything together. It may be fair to say that her voice is the strongest part of Roadie, but with the full band backing her up, there really are no weak points either. Norah Jones meets folk rock, Roadie’s new EP is a refreshing blend of vocally driven melodies and organic instrumentation. This album feels timeless and deserves raving reviews from anyone who’s into contemporary folk.