To be a fan of music as a blossoming artist and not allow the influence of others to disturb autonomy within one’s voice is a rare feat. Too often—potentially from a jaded view—musicians soak up influence like a sponge and what is left behind for the listener is regurgitated and boring. Thankfully, the local trio Heaven and the Ghosts are a refreshing example of receiving inspiration and artfully crafting something new.
The gorgeous EP Poinsettia is a lush and emotional first offering from Heaven Brownell and her talented bandmates, Tiana Barnes and Kaiya Derkach-Kodie. Brownell’s solo project swiftly morphed into this present configuration through organic interactions, most recently during the summer of 2016.
“Tiana and I met Kaiya halfway through the summer at Interstellar Rodeo and she naturally fit in lovely with the group,” Brownell explains. “We were looking for three-part harmonies and to make the band more of the band dynamic instead of the singer/songwriter focal point. I still write everything, but we really wanted to incorporate a larger sound, even if we’re just doing acoustic sets.”
While the base for the songs on Poinsettia was created over the past three years, it was the creation of the trio which helped cement arrangements and solidify harmonies, making an EP release possible. Brownell’s love of folk, baroque pop, and psychedelia are naturally apparent in the new EP, but her affinity for nature—more specifically flowers—inspire her thoughtfully written ballads.
“I lived in the countryside two hours away from Edmonton for the first 14 years of my life, so I spent so much time outside and that’s always been a huge part of my life,” Brownell recalls. “The album is really written to reflect the last years of the farm. ‘Hilltop’ is kind of where things are right now and ‘Old Vacations’ was written about me as a kid, growing up on the farm and moving forward into the city. It kind of plays backwards.”
The connection and deep love for nature has inspired a floral theme within the groups’ music, leading to the tentative title Bloom for the band’s next album.
“The next album I’d love to get funded through a grant,” says Brownell. “I’m excited for the direction Pointsettia is sending us. We have some cool shows we’re lining up for the year. I’m also thinking I need some time to write some new stuff. Everything else we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Thurs., Jan. 19 (9 pm)
w/Shukov and Perpetuals
The Needle, $15 at the door