Here’s a story. Knoxville singer/songwriter Michele Newton recorded some tunes raw, just her voice and guitar, with some friends as a club demo – you know: “I want to play here, this is what I sound like.”
Lives go on – Newton got married, became a mom and dropped out of the music scene. You can hear those recordings, assembled as the Broken Pavement EP, here. Michele’s friends own and operate WonderDog Records, home of Mobius Dick, Nebraska Guitar Militia, and Afrigo, among many others.
Recently the WonderDog braintrust were tidying up the old studio when they stumbled upon the Newton tapes and their interest in the retired troubador sprang anew.
In a plot to lure the now hyphenated Michele Newton-Easterday out of her “mommy shell,” the WonderDog conspiracy asked for and obtained permission to sweeten the tapes with a bit of postproduction: retooling the mix, adding a keyboard bass here and there. We shall see if the plot succeeds.
As to the music, Newton-Easterday has a lilting, halfway between Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez soprano that yields an emotional hybrid of wistful remembrance, regret, and occasionally peers into the darkness of entropy. Highlights are the peregrinating title track and and the nocturne “Loneliness”:
“Instead of Lovin’ no man
I settled for a Snow Man
But you know snow men
are cold men”
Frostbitten but unbowed, the girl and her guitar soldier on.