Knuckle Down

Knuckle Down

3.0 2
by Ani DiFranco
     
 

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Ani DiFranco's latest release delivers 12 pithy new songs that benefit notably from the signature co-production work of fellow musician and songwriter Joe Henry. In addition, a heavyweight lineup of ace musicians lend their considerable talents, such as Tony Scherr on electric guitar and Jay Bellerose on percussion. Highlights include the title song, which opens the

Overview

Ani DiFranco's latest release delivers 12 pithy new songs that benefit notably from the signature co-production work of fellow musician and songwriter Joe Henry. In addition, a heavyweight lineup of ace musicians lend their considerable talents, such as Tony Scherr on electric guitar and Jay Bellerose on percussion. Highlights include the title song, which opens the album with some fancy syncopated fingerwork and emotive, uniquely DiFranco-style vocals. The fourth track, "Sunday Morning," is a quietly passionate painting of a companionable Sunday morning spent with a lover. Not until the last verse is it apparent that the song is written in the past tense, lending a poignant, bittersweet overtone. "Lag Time" finds DiFranco playing her cards a little too close to the vest to be truly satisfying, but its follow-up, "Parameters," pulls no punches in its starkly visceral spoken-word recounting of a woman who comes home to find an intruder in her house. Knuckle Down contains a substantial body of work from an artist clearly confident of her ability to create whatever she sets her mind to.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Fans that were lukewarm to Ani DiFranco 's bare-bones, self-produced Educated Guess will be pleased to learn that the notoriously independent artist has delegated half of her 13th studio recording's production duties to fellow singer/songwriter Joe Henry. Knuckle Down combines all of the spite, spark, compassion and wordy observation of the DiFranco of old with the kind of constructive hindsight that can only come from years spent blazing your own trail -- the knotty title cut ends with DiFranco musing "I think I'm done gunnin to get closer to some imagined bliss/I gotta knuckle down/just be ok with this" then wistfully replies "'course that star struck girl is already someone I miss." It's a brave opening statement, and one that permeates Knuckle Down throughout. Henry, along with guest musicians Todd Sickafoose, Julie Wolf and fellow Righteous Babe recording artist Andrew Bird never intrude on DiFranco's signature percussive guitar work and Joni Mitchell motor-mouth, rather they paint lovingly the complex world around them, reigning in the artist's penchant for long-winded intros and meandering mid-sections with a subtlety that does wonders for standout tracks like "Sunday Morning" and "Studying Stones" -- the latter features some of Bird's divine whistling. Knuckle Down may not have the machine-gun edge and maverick intensity that fueled her early-'90s heydays, but it spares nobody -- including DiFranco herself -- from interrogation, and with its creative arrangements, smart pacing and refined production, it ranks as the artist's most concise and accessible release to date.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/22/2005
Label:
Righteous Babe
UPC:
0748731704216
catalogNumber:
42
Rank:
71458

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Ani DiFranco   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Niki Haris   Vocals
Tony Scherr   Electric Guitar
Patrick Warren   Piano,Sampling,chamberlain
Jay Bellerose   Percussion,Drums
Julie Wolf   Melodica
Andrew Bird   Violin,Glockenspiel,Human Whistle
Noe Venable   Vocals
Todd Sickafoose   Bass Guitar,Wurlitzer,String Bass
Julie Wolfe   Melodica

Technical Credits

Joe Henry   Audio Production
Ani DiFranco   Producer,Audio Production
Danny Clinch   Portrait Photography
S. "Husky" Hoskulds   Engineer
Jason Mott   Engineer

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Knuckle Down 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago