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Daughter of Swords: a shining folk star

With "Dawnbreaker", the young Alexandra Sauser-Monnig releases a fascinating and unclichéd debut album of contemporary folk.

By Alexis Renaudat | Video of the Day | July 13, 2019
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Qobuz

You can hear a steam train in the distance, the cozy noise of tape hiss, and the unmistakable sound of someone’s guitar meeting the edge of a table. And then there’s that fingerpicking, like a steady limp. Close your eyes and you’d think you’re sitting right across the room when Alexandra Sauser-Monnig (Daughter of Swords) begins to spin her yarn. When you consider that the name of her project was chosen by picking a random tarot card, and then listen to her pastoral, introspective songs, you realize, this Vermont native has the storytelling itch.

Dawnbreaker might be her first solo album, but it’s clear she has a knack for songwriting.



That talent was first nurtured in the folk trio Mountain Man, but far from giving in to the dog-eared tropes of Appalachian music, the singer joined forces with Nick Sanborn (Made of Oak/Sylvan Esso) to introduce a few contemporary elements into her songs. Drum machines, ambient synths all modulate the atmosphere of her songs without ever watering them down. Shining Woman is a good example of this musical compromise; after a light-footed first section, Sauser-Monnig is joined by Amelia Meath, Molly Sarlé, Phil Cook and Ryan Gustafson for a full-house banger.



Dawnbreaker is a promising debut album; Alexandra’s heightened folk sensitivity, her airy, careful singing and her thoughtful lyrics are all signs that she is the proverbial “one to watch”.

LISTEN TO DAWNBREAKER BY DAUGHTER OF SWORDS ON QOBUZ


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