Folk singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco’s newest album, ‘Knuckle Down,’ was just released Jan. 25. In short, I don’t like it.
But that isn’t to say that the album doesn’t demand respect and merit for its unique qualities. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it takes a very specific kind of fan base to appreciate this work as it truly should be appreciated.
After a 15-year career, several albums and heavy touring, DiFranco has teamed up for the first time with singer/songwriter Joe Henry, who helped her co-produce ‘Knuckle Down.’
While many of her previous albums demonstrated DiFranco’s solo talent, where she played all the instruments and recorded the album herself, she tried something different this time around.
For ‘Knuckle Down,’ DiFranco put a distinct emphasis on stringed instruments, employing the skills of Todd Sickafoose on bass, Tony Scherr on electric guitar and Andrew Bird on violin. Niki Haris and Noe Veneble lent their vocals and the assistance of Julie wolf, Patrick Warren and Jay Bellerose can also be heard on this album.
A notable part of this album is a spoken-word piece entitled ‘Parameters.’ In it, DiFranco describes a chilling night in her bedroom. Full of heavy thoughts, this track definitely showcases DiFranco’s crafty complexity. It’s a shame that her singing voice isn’t more pleasing to the ears.
In any case, ‘Knuckle Down’ will not disappoint DiFranco’s folksy followers. So if I’m describing you, go ahead and buy it.