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PRESENTED BY JON RAY
The last thing Bobruk and producer Darwin Smith wanted to do with The Safety Match Journal was make another singer-songwriter record. Yes, Bobruk writes her own songs, and sings them too, but for the Huntsville, Texas, native now dwelling in Austin, that's as far as it goes.
"Neither Darwin nor I wanted this record to sound predictable," she says. "I approached Darwin with full trust and gave him complete freedom to explore arrangements, sounds, and textures-- our intention was to uproot my songs from 'genres' like 'folk' and 'rock.'"
Bobruk and Smith employed some interesting strategies to upend those staid classifications and give The Safety Match Journal its fresh sound. At Cacophony Recorders (Darwin Smith's and Eric Wofford's studio) Smith used a wide array of non-traditional instruments - an old doorbell and hubcap rims dipped in water -- against more orchestral instruments like the bass clarinet and cello to embellish Bobruk's poetic, heartfelt songs. Then Smith took it a step further, using studio alchemy like tracking speed and unconventional processing to subtly alter the finished tracks. The result is a canvas of lush, textured, and ambient arrangements.
"Liverpool," "Fools For Love," "Here She Comes," and "Puppets at Play" demonstrate a more pop sensibility in her writing and address the universal emotions of frustration and heartache. Juxtaposed with nostalgic lullabies like, "For the Lost Airwaves" and "Blessing," as well as the roots based "Precious Jesus," Bobruk's writing covers a broad range of topics and themes. Here are a few of the album's inspirations, in her own well-chosen words:
"Shores of Gold": "I think of some of the sounds we achieved as resembling a sort of exotic jungle. I also hear what reminds me of recorded whale cries. I imagine diving deep into the ocean to be confronted by beautiful monsters."
"Losing the Magic": "The spoken word combined with intention is very powerful. I do at times fear handing over this energy, but at the same time, there is a sense of excitement that accompanies sharing a cherished idea/wish/dream."
"First Move": "It's a reaction to the American people's apathy at the beginning of the Iraq war. Protesting, warning people of what certain actions could lead to, speaking out while armed with well-crafted rhetoric is the only way citizens can protect themselves against injustice and destruction without resorting to violence. The last verse about the Triton [the deep-sea messenger] and his people who are 'choking on flames' is a reference to the island of Fira and a lost civilization -- the volcano erupted with no warning."
The Safety Match Journal is a window into the thoughts of what some people call an old soul, and for someone in her late-twenties, releasing her debut album, Aimee Bobruk is no newcomer. In 2006, Bobruk took the prize in the "Mountain Town Stages: Slopeside Serenade" songwriting contest in Utah and opened for the legendary Dr. John. In August of 2008, she was selected as a regional finalist for the nationally acclaimed New Song Mountain Stages Songwriter Festival. In addition, her song "For the Lost Airwaves," which appears on the The Safety Match Journal, was used in the 2007 documentary Team Everest: A Himalayan Journey.
Introducing herself to Austin with 2003 EP Small Town Girl, Bobruk quickly became a featured songwriter by Central Texas DJs like KUT's Teresa Ferguson (Femme FM), KOOP's Sandra Beckmire and Rick Star of Fredericksburg's KFAN ("Rebel Radio"). She's shared the stage with the likes of Butch Hancock, Alejandro Escovedo, Ian McLagan, and David Garza. And in 2008, Bobruk held down a Tuesday-night residency with fellow songstress, Hilary York, at Austin's The Scoot Inn, where her performance and her songs held their own against many of Austin's most talented musicians: Ian Moore, Robert Harrison (Future Clouds and Radar), Michael Fracasso, Will Sexton, Andrew Duplantis (Son Volt), Joe Reyes (Buttercup), Jane Bond, and Ethan Azarian.www.aimeebobruk.com