As the yellow flower tattoo on her forearm might indicate, Misty Lyn Bergeron wears the heart of her songs on her sleeve. For the Dead, the debut album from one of Ann Arbor's finest contemporary units, embraces that iconic image in all its seasonal and metaphorical forms. Over the course of the disc's 11 tracks, Bergeron charts the slow death of the bloom and the tumultuous relationship that symbolic death represents. Vivid nature-based imagery appears throughout the album, coming on like nostalgic snapshots caught somewhere between wearied love and hard-struck defeatism. "South at Noon," a standout track, best captures that poetic introspection, with Bergeron's "pollen palm and weeded heart" reliably tending to an intractable lover who can only "fold [his] petals" indifferently in front of her.
Bergeron's backing band, the Big Beautiful, fills out the sound with rich alt-country textures. Ryan Gimpert (pedal steel, electric guitar), Carol Gray (fiddle), Matt Jones (drums) and Jim Roll (bass) are all veteran players in the A2 folk community. As such, they bring unpretentious, spacious arrangements to these strong tracks — at times building from a whisper to a release of fleeting bar band thunder ("Flower Song," "SummerLull"), while at other times drifting by with hazy and unfocused interludes, albeit full of warm autumnal swells ("MPLS II (and the snow...)"). This album has been a long time coming for Bergeron — and given its definitive treatment of her material, the artist finally has a document to cement her as not just one of the better songwriting forces on the Michigan scene but in contemporary folk music in general.
Misty Lyn & the Big Beautiful play Saturday, Jan. 31, as part of the Jan. 30-31 Annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-761-1818. With Kris Kristofferson, Pete Seeger and more.
Aaron Shaul writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to email@example.com.
We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.