The Difranco Difference

 

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By: Jess Poulos
Ani Difranco’s Latest release, “Red Letter Year” is filled with
the signature poetic lyrics and experimental music that one would
expect from the folk-punk singer. The album stays true to Ani’s
daring and outspoken style; however there is a hint of warmth and
harmony that comes through in many of the songs, unlike anything we
have heard from her before. 
            Difranco has been recording since 1990 when
she released her first, self titled studio album. Since then Difranco
has earned her place as one of the worlds’ greatest folk singers.
She has released 20 studio albums to date and has kept a massive
following over the years. Difranco is known for her feisty lyrics and
fierce guitar playing that causes audiences to step back and absorb
the intensity and beauty of her music. Difranco formed her own
independent record label in the early 90’s; Righteous Babe
Records
, which became a platform for her to produce music in her
own individual style and also to raise awareness on many social
issues
she feels strongly about. Many of Difranco’s live shows will
include
performances from other artists she has signed to her label, and even
messages from various political or social organisations she is
involved with. Difranco is a feminist, an activist, a mother and an
artist. All these things are present in her music.
            Unlike previous albums, “Red Letter
Year
” has a smoother and more melodious tone to it. This can in
part have to do with the big influence of love and family on this
album. Although Title track; “Red Letter Year” focuses on the
tragedy of New Orleans and “The Atom” brings forth Difranco’s
distaste for the destruction science has brought, there is a clear
sense of enlightenment and joy in this album. Difranco takes us on a
journey through becoming a mother and changing her view on the world
in “Present/Infant” and also reveals her more optimistic outlook
on life and love with “smiling underneath” and “way tight”. 

            All in all, “Red Letter Year” is a
beautifully crafted and perfect addition to Ani Difranco’s
collection of albums. Difranco leaves us with her usual wealth of
insight and wisdom and her new mantra, “That says; don’t forget to
have a good time!” Along with exploring broader instrumental avenues,
it takes the listener deeper into Difranco?s soul and invites us to
enjoy the journey along with her. 
 

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