Concert Preview: The beautiful chaos of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

Lady Lamb The Beekeeper @ The Red PalaceAly Spaltro‘s story of stardom is almost as whimsical as her voice.

She began her musical pursuits by playing and practicing in the basement of the video rental store at which she was a clerk in her hometown of Brunswick, Maine. Bart & Greg’s DVD Explosion’s customers probably had no idea that the same clerk that would rent Transformers movies to them would develop into a major musical talent under the name of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper.

After working her 3-11 p.m. shift, Spaltro would venture down into the basement of Bart & Greg’s and let her lyrical thoughts pour into her music until morning broke. She taught herself to write music and sing, and her experimental and structureless music is characterized by a range of emotions, from anger and confusion to the simple and sheer bliss of love.

Anxious and hesitant to share her music with others, Spaltro gave herself the name “Lady Lamb the Beekeeper” and would arrange her CDs on the counters of Bart & Greg’s and the record store next door to give out as free samples to customers.

That’s how Lady Lamb the Beekeeper made herself to the top of the music scene in Portland and Brooklyn.

Spaltro is famous among her fans for her live shows. They can be characterized as beautifully chaotic, with melodies that seem to follow an internalized structure only known to Spaltro herself. She sings and plays the guitar, both electric and acoustic, and her lyrics and music offer insight into the world of a young women full of emotion and  intense passion for living deeply.

With almost too boundless emotion much to handle, she developed as a solo stage-performer, teetering in between hums and screams, falling from one extreme to the other within seconds while still maintaining self-control.

Lady Lamb the Beekeeper has received lots of love from various music blogs and news stations, including NPR and Pitchfork, thanks to her newest album Ripely Pine.

The lyrics of Ripely Pine exhibit a display of raw and openhearted honesty, even if that means making her audiences and listeners grit their teeth and cringe with their unadulterated goriness.

On her album opener, “Hair to the Ferris Wheel,” which initially seems to be a slow and whimsical love ballad, she sings “Let’s crawl all over one another like crows on a carcass/Like ants on a crumb starving only for the taste of tongues,” creating sharp, disturbing, and powerful images that cause listeners’ skin to tingle with uncomfortable chills.

Even listening to lyrics like these, audiences can’t help but sway to Spaltro’s relaxing guitar. She has an artistic gift of being able to utilize juxtaposition between lyrics and sounds in a way that seems incomprehensible until you listen to her music.

This quality is again noticeable in another beautiful piece on Ripely Pine entitled “Florence Berlin“. While singing a pointed and biting story of a broken family caused  by an unhealthy relationship with her father, Spaltro plays poignant acoustic guitar, creating another contrast to heighten the emotion and beauty of her song.

Throughout her music, Spaltro’s palpable experience of love and relationship as a messy, and an often caustic thing seems even more striking because of the fact that she wrote these songs when she was so young, just 18 or 19.

Though 23 now, Spaltro’s deep emotions and passion allow her to make her mark on the modern music scene, and she’s definitely something worth experiencing, both for her music and live performance. She will be coming to the District on Monday, May 20th, performing with Xenia Rubinos and Healing Power at 8 p.m. at Black Cat, located 3 blocks from the U Street/Cardozo Metro Station. So, for those of you sticking around for summer classes, internships, and jobs, be sure to check Lady Lamb the Beekeeper out for only $10 a ticket.

Photo: Mike Katzif via Flickr

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