Black Prairie: Feast of the Hunters’ Moon

Music Reviews Black Prairie
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Black Prairie: <em>Feast of the Hunters&#8217; Moon</em>

Instrumental quintet bridges continents

Combining the forces of Jenny Conlee, Chris Funk and Nate Query of The Decemberists with folk musicians Annalisa Tornfelt and Jon Neufeld, Portland’s Black Prairie crafts an eclectic mix of traditional bluegrass and eastern European sounds.

Though peppered with Tornfelt’s wispy vocals, this debut album is primarily instrumental, shifting between twangy folk (“Atrocity at Celilo Falls”), fiddle-heavy bluegrass (“Back Alley,” “Annie McGuire”) and gypsy swoon, full of weeping strings and bouncy accordions (“A Prairie Musette,” “Tango Oscuro”). The melodic ebb and flow through time and space is full of surprises—just when you’ve settled into the rootsy twang, the scene shifts and you’re on a haunted street corner in the old country.