Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By KRISTIN DiCARA-McCLELLAN
Taking a spin on a merry-go-round at the state fair; licking sticky, pink cotton-candy-stained fingers; and inhaling the aroma of french fries and funnel cakes on a hot summer's day.
HOW IT RATES
NOGAR FAMILY BAND -- "FAMILY OF STRANGERS"
RECORDED AT: One Longfellow Square, Portland
PRODUCED BY: Peter McLaughlin
-- Based on a four-star scale
Those are the images dancing in my mind while listening to the Nogar Family Band. But the images are of 1930 -- definitely not 2012.
The seven-song CD "Family of Strangers" is the Nogar Family Band's debut, and it has certainly made an impression on the scene. The band has done quite a job of not using many of the standard instruments in an acoustic/folk jazz-pop set-up.
Prominent in the mix are baritone sax and trumpet, with Dan Nogar's voice jazzing it up throughout the entire CD. Laid back in the mix is sporadic mandolin, ukulele and soft drums and shakers. They use harmonies sparingly, and it was tastefully done, on point and sometimes kitschy and cute.
The third track, "Die a Little Death Each Day," struck me. If you read the lyrics without listening to the music, it could seem a bit dark in theme -- like if you love someone, you have to die a little each day, because you give up a bit of yourself to the other person until you've given yourself up thoroughly, and then you die.
But once I listened to the song, I got a very different perspective in a much more spiritual place. It then became about living life each day to the fullest, and loving yourself, your family, your friends, and everything that comes with this world. "Family of Strangers" is a CD for people who enjoy an old-time jazzy folk feel and who can appreciate a very different instrumentation that's ambitious and worthy of respect.
It may be hard for some to come on board and join the Family right away. But give it some time and open your mind, and you will be marching on the Nogar Family vaudeville bandwagon soon enough.
Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a local freelance writer. She can be reached at: