With performances on four continents now under their belts, the Vancouver-based ensemble known as Po’Girl draws on a wealth of cultural experience and musical wisdom that belies the group’s self-deprecating name. Dragging along a king’s treasure-chest of noisemakers — banjo and accordion, washtub bass and clarinet, violin and so on – Po’Girl somehow manages to sound, most often, like a bunch of artists you’ve heard before.
Not that that’s a bad thing, when you consider the artists who fit on Po’Girl’s sounds-like list.
Singer Allison Russell does a strong Ani DiFranco, complete with odd enunciations and amplified vibrato. Fans and critics have also pointed out echoes of Norah Jones, Tracy Chapman, Gillian Welch, and the Be Good Tanyas in the band’s eclectic folk music. Instrumentally, echoes of Tin Pan Alley and New Orleans jazz orchestrations compete with underlying song structures rooted in blues and folk-rock.
Put together, it’s a pleasantly curious stew, one that lends itself best to the revelatory feel of a live performance.
Po’Girl appears this Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Top Hat.