Material: The Dreamer & The Dream is the name of Kela Parker’s brand new album. It is also a proverbial portrait of her adolescent upbringing in Portland, OR, a time period when this folk singer’s discovery of alternative tuning led to many of the experimental compositions that are prevalent in her music today. “Be A Child,” a song from her recently released LP, features quaint arrangements akin to the chords created by anti-folk singer Regina Spektor. While several other tracks from her new album convey an intellectual message with deep lyrical content.
Musicianship: Parker often complements her unique approach to music composition with an array of vocal adaptations. The variety of this sound amplifies a mosaic mood in her melodic lines that are comparable to songs that have been written by the indie-folk band Of Monsters and Men. Parker’s live shows typically demonstrate a spectrum of guest musicians who assist her as she alternates between piano and acoustic guitar.
Performance: Parker premiered nine songs from her brand new album inside the picturesque confines of Amplyfi in Los Angeles. With a dense sentiment to nearly every song she sang, her vocal cadence echoed a tonality comparable to Jewel and Natalie Maines from The Dixie Chicks. As the songstress sat behind her piano to sing a rendition of “The Art of Memory,” she was accompanied by a musician who quietly played the marching percussion. The live nostalgia of this tune meshed well with the atmospheric undertone of “Present Tense,” a folk-rock song with chord progressions reminiscent of “Crash Into Me” by The Dave Matthews Band.
Summary: This album release show was an in-depth look inside of Kela Parker’s deepest sensitivities and perceptions. The former music teacher even took time to explain the meaning of her most intimate songs. Nevertheless, her show would have been even more personable if she chose to include more songs and testimonials that reflected her happiness and sense of humor. The intimate Amplyfi space would have been an appropriate place for her to draw her audience closer to both sides of her personality.