Photo Credit: Rachael Renee Levasseur
To celebrate Dolly Parton’s birthday today, Kishi Bashi has shared his new cover of “Early Morning Breeze,” from her formative 1971 album Coat Of Many Colors. The cover introduces a subtly transformed sonic palette, including a short violin solo from the string extraordinaire. “I’ve always loved Dolly Parton,” he explains. “I think an artist’s personality plays a part in appreciating their work. I love how she’s always so generous and grounded in this crazy world of show business.” Kishi Bashi’s “Early Morning Breeze” is now available to stream at all DSPs via Joyful Noise Recordings.
“Early Morning Breeze” is Kishi Bashi’s first release since his critically acclaimed 2019 album Omoiyari (Joyful Noise), praised by The New York Times, NPR’s All Things Considered, NPR Music (‘First Listen,’ ‘New Music Friday’), Billboard, The New Yorker, Noisey, Smithsonian Magazine, Relix, Paste, Exclaim!, and many more. A record that channels the hard-learned lessons of history by reckoning with the country’s past internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII, Kishi Bashi immersed himself in that period, visiting former prison sites and listening to the stories of survivors, while developing musical concepts along the way. “I didn’t want this project to be about history, but rather the importance of history, and the lessons we can learn,” Kishi Bashi reflects. “I gravitated toward themes of empathy, compassion, and understanding as a way to overcome fear and intolerance. But I had trouble finding an English title for the piece. ‘Omoiyari’ is a Japanese word. It doesn’t necessarily translate as empathy, but it refers to the idea of creating compassion towards other people by thinking about them.”
Praise for Omoiyari:
“the album is impressionistic, not didactic; the choruses are about loneliness and lost love, not outrage. ‘Omoiyari’ grapples with heritage and assimilation, displacement and survival, mourning and coping, all tucked into its plush arrangements. It makes peace with history, but does not forget.” — The New York Times
“another sure-footed surprise from an artist who never stops seeking new ways to engage, connect and delight.” — NPR Music
“…the buoyancy coursing through Bashi’s gracefully woven, folk-minded arrangements signal that he’s more interested in finding moments of empathy and hope in darkness” — The New Yorker
“Though it powerfully deals with the dark side of American history, Omoiyari is his most accessible work to date, washed in the breezy Laurel Canyon arrangements (‘F. Delano’, ‘A Song For You’) and occasional banjo folk-pop (closer ‘Annie, Heart Thief of the Sea’)” — Noisey