Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax

There is brilliance in narrowly averting tragedy. There is something magical about rescue and finding your path when darkness is falling and nobody in the world knows where you are, not even you. And while this is not the whole story, or even the most robust flavor, this is what I think of when I think of Britt Rodemich.

Only a couple months ago and Rodemich, a Denver native, was on the verge of pulling the plug on her musical ambitions. She had played around town and recorded an EP, but nothing seemed to be going anywhere, with any real momentum. In February, when her musical car was on the tracks, this all changed. Now, Rodemich is skyrocketing into Denver’s musical landscape, with eager ears all around town awaiting the next sighting of this dark, beautiful songstress.

For somebody her age much of Rodemich’s stage show is striking: her stage presence, her professionalism, and her brilliant, ethereal songs. But it is her voice that will arrest your heart. Rodemich’s songs swim in the choppy sea as far as her raw, soulstress vocals can carry them. The air that rises from her petite frame is colossal, and breathtaking. It’s as though her vocal chords have been birthed by the trade winds themselves. And somehow she is able to sail all of the seven seas of our imaginations, with the flag of triumph quaking in the breeze.

And while her voice leads the way, it is her ambient arrangements that carry the load. Dave Preston, playing along side her, fills Rodemich’s musical phrases with smart, sharp answers. And it should be noted that it is on account of Preston’s stellar recording job on The Tree that Rodemich has been elevated to such a place of local interest.

Matching her sound, Rodemich’s stories and lyrics are dark. Her subject matter is mossy and slippery atop the rocks of her watery, heartfelt existence.

For Rodemich, everything, absolutely everything, is personal.

As a child, Rodemich’s father was killed by a heart attack. Her debut EP, The Tree, pays homage to the dreams that have been had about him. A stirring collection of stories, the dreams all revolve around a tree: The night before Rodemich’s father passed away, her brother had a dream that their father fell out of a pine tree. Rodemich’s mother has had recurring dreams about her husband as well, wherein she is before a tree and crying for him to come to. When the branches of the tree would open, revealing him, she became scared.

For so many reasons, The Tree, is a very appropriate title for Rodemich’s first studio album: it’s about climbing and reaching toward the starry skies with your mouth agape; and letting the wind of the heart fill you up where your breath once was.

With work this intensely personal, Rodemich doesn’t expect many people to understand all of the stories and ideas that she laces together.

But this is exactly here where Rodemich shines: in that place where her words leave off. Here is where the power is: where the music picks-up. As a listener, you don’t need to understand all the lyrics you are given in a song. And Rodemich’s songs are no different. It’s the isolated phrases that you take away. Strip everything down to a lyric sheet and her words may not resonate as much, because of their personal nature. But couple them with music and everything makes sense in that magical kind of way that makes you feel, rather than think.

On stage, Rodemich is like a snake shedding her skin. Dark and guised, both in appearance and content – under the lights, she is poised. There is a silence to Rodemich. Perhaps it’s the fact that, on stage, she is admittedly a bit outside of her daily self. Watching her and you do retain the feeling that she is somehow, impossibly elsewhere; in a moonlit meadow, singing the heavens her song – calling to her father above.

And while her songs are supremely strong, in dynamics and composition, there is a concretization of both her bravery as an artist and a human in her live cover of Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile”. Bent in her direction, Rodemich takes this song under her little wing in the most authentic of ways. This may be one of the bravest moments on a stage I’ve seen in a long while, because of its authenticity. In this, she takes a wildly different approach to one of the most monumental rock n’ roll songs of all time by injecting her idiosyncratic voice into it with twisting jazz trills, her flamenco strumming strides as well as those precarious and haunting spaces of contemplation.

On the rise, you can expect to see more of Britt Rodemich. Because while only a couple of months ago she was ready to move-on – her path has finally, and concretely, begun in the Denver music scene. And while this author feels a bit of a dark tragedy being narrowly averted in Britt Rodemich, the truth is that we are witnessing the birth of a star, right before us. Stay tuned to Rodemich’s redemptive steps, here: www.myspace.com/brittrodemich.