ALBUM REVIEW: THE NORTHERN BELLE — WE WITHER, WE BLOOM

Featured Image Courtesy of Julia Marie Nagelstad

Norwegian created, Nashville inspired: We Wither, We Bloom, is third studio album (first released internationally) from the Americana septet, The Northern Belle.  Lead singer Stine Andreassen traveled from the band’s home in Norway to the Music City to write the album.  The result is a record full of the flowing folk melodies we expect from the Nordicana scene, combined with just enough Nashville country influences and lyrical grit.

There are plenty of up-tempo tracks, such as the album’s opener, “Gemini.”  Stevie Nicks-esque floating vocals from Andreassen are met with darker electric guitar chords giving the song a psychedelic feeling at times.  The song has a throwback folk-rock edge with a timeless quality. 

However, it’s in the album’s gentler, dreamier works that Andreassen’s vocals are best showcased.  It was admittedly her voice that first turned my attention toward the group resulting in these tracks getting most of my plays. 

“How Deep” and “Born To Be A Mother” are both ballads full of poignant charge thanks to the fine storytelling set to a captivating soundtrack.  Another song well deserving of notice is “Lonely.”  There’s a special quality to the way the song was recorded, making the vocals feel like they are projecting from a great emptiness. 

Of course, it’s important to give credit to the music itself as well. The Northern Belle benefits from both the sheer size of the band and the way the pieces fit so well together as one sound.  The entire album is lush with plenty of acoustic and electric guitar, pedal steel, and strings in the mix. 

Time and time again, I am impressed with how international artists continue to influence the Americana scene, while little parts of Nashville continue to be part of the world’s music. On We Wither, We Bloom, The Northern Belle combine well-crafted folk-pop with classic country touches to make an album that is a true example of the great things that come from the Americana melting pot.

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George Maifair

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