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Lucinda Black Bear
black fur of unhappiness
by: Dan Berkman - February 3, 2008

The story of Lucinda Black Bear is a uniquely New York story. The band was started by solo artist and San Diego transplant Christian Gibbs (C. Gibbs) while he was living in Brooklyn. While working on another solo album, Gibbs he hit a rough patch and decided he needed some new blood and instrumentation to shake things up - he hit the town in search of a band. First, Gibbs met Kristin Mueller (Caulfield Sisters, Gloria Deluxe) at a party in Long Island City. Learning that Mueller played the drums, Gibbs quickly recruited her for this new project. After that, he approached a frequent acquaintance in Brooklyn's indie rock scene, Mike Cohen (Soft Explosions) and signed him up as well. With Cohen now in tow, Gibbs went down to hip Brooklyn venue Southpaw and simply asked if anyone could play violin. To his surprise, solo artist Clare Burson was in attendance and raised her hand. The final piece of the puzzle was cellist Chad Hammer, a musical oddity who sports a bleached mohawk and who makes a living as a schoolteacher when he isn't rocking out.

Culled from every facet of New York's underground scene, these different personalities blend seamlessly to create Lucinda Black Bear’s debut album, "Capo My Heart' and Other Bear Songs". Anyone that has followed Gibbs’ solo career will be pleased to note that the music included is a mix of dusty plain pop, intimate vocals and slow mellow trip. The warm vocals are mixed in such a way that it seems as though you are being whispered a secret. Gibbs was right in his assumption that the tunes he had written needed some fleshing out. He was even more correct in his choice of musicians to work with on this project. The additional bass, drums and strings really add the atmosphere that Gibbs has been trying to create since he first started making records. Although expanding the sound, these other instruments never overwhelm what has been a winning formula; instead, they compliment the music and take it to a whole other level. These fleshed out arrangements turn Gibbs’ lyrics from wonderful words on a page to a complete and heartbreaking tale that takes on a life of its own.

She Keeps Bees frontwoman Jessica Larrabee offers her a vocals to the group as another potent addition; her with Gibbs on "Here I Am" verges on the magical. Their voices blend so fantastically together as both sound hurt but yet powerful. Like Emmylou and Graham, Johnny and June, it seems that Jessica and Christian were just made to sing with each other – offering a highlight amongst an album jam packed with them.

Lucinda Black Bear's '"’Capo My Heart' and Other Bear Songs" is an exceptionally written record full of heartbreak, loneliness, fear, anger and regret. Inspiration flows out from the speakers and into the ears of those lucky enough to be listening. The record is a fantastic journey through the psyches of Lucinda Black Bear and their de facto leader C. Gibbs. Wonderful cheery places bleed into tragedy - from loneliness comes salvation. In the world of Lucinda Black Bear, nothing is quite what it seems. Sunny harmonies hide heartbreak and emotions swing on a dime when one least expects it. The album ends with the moody instrumental piece "Hibernation" which is full of distorted ambient noises, all of which get fuzzier as the track goes on as if the distance is growing - the music is getting farther away and harder to understand until it fades away completely. Like any good work of art, it leaves you gasping for breath as the curtain descends for the last time. The message is a simple one and is just as clear as Gibbs sings it on "All She Wanted" - "It’s your life/better make it right while your breathing".



 
 

"’Capo My Heart' and Other Bear Songs" is an exceptionally written record full of heartbreak, loneliness, fear, anger and regret."


Lucinda Black Bear
"Capo My Heart' and Other Bear Songs"


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what it is

a mix of dusty plain pop, intimate vocals and slow mellow trip.