Music+Clubs » Features

Distinguishing Timbre

Harp-fronted art band is right at home at Eye Level

by

comment

Timbre's first experience in Charleston was far from typical for our town. "We were setting up, and everyone was being really loud, but when we started playing, it got completely silent," she says about a gig at the Village Tavern. "There was a pinball machine going off in the back of the room, and I see this guy stumble out and yank the cord out of the wall. It was such a moment. We were entering the music together."

In our hyper-social city, for a symphonic band that's led by a harp to silence a bar crowd speaks loudly about their musical aura. Timbre (pronounced "tambour") began playing the harp at when she was eight after begging her parents for two years. They'd named Timbre and her siblings (Tetra, Treble, and Tenor) with music in mind, but had hoped Timbre might choose a less expensive instrument.

The harp proved a worthwhile investment. The 26-year-old Nashville native began playing professionally in symphonies at age 15. By 20, she was writing and arranging songs on the harp, a skill that increased her demand for as a session musician.

Her Eye Level Art performance is her fourth in Charleston. She'll be accompanied by a seven-piece band with a wide range of instruments, like the glockenspiel, flute, accordion, toy piano, oboe, guitar, drums, and bass.

"If there was ever an artistic musician coming to town, this gal fits the bill," says Awendaw Green's Eddie White, who helped organize the Eye Level gig. "Every show she has done has been magical."

Timbre released her sophomore album Little Flowers in May. It's a beautifully atmospheric collection with song titles like "Hope is a Blindfold, Hope is a Solace" and "Silver Shoots and Tender Leaves." The minimalist arrangements take advantage of her talented band (including her three siblings), with bowed strings, piano, and, of course, harp, smoothing the impressive multipart arrangements and counter-melodies.

"This is very quiet, peaceful music," says Timbre. "Even when we're playing in a loud atmosphere, I don't really worry about it. People feel a connection."

Add a comment