To All The Cowboys - Ariel Bui

from the album Ariel Bui (2016)

It is rare that I stumble across an artist's debut record and become thoroughly captivated, spending days on end listening to her record, as it leads me to inner truths I might not otherwise uncover.

Ariel Bui's self titled record hits this mark.

Immigrating with her parents from Vietnam as a young girl, Ariel spent most of her youth bouncing around the southern United States.  Ultimately, she found herself in Nashville, a classically trained composer experimenting with music she describes as "ranging from Fiona Apple and Angel Olsen to Bjork and Radiohead."

Describing her album she says, "Many of the songs are meditations on death.  How you can feel as though you are dying of a broken heart, how the loss of loved ones sends ripples through our lives, the inevitability that all things pass, how we often live our lives in denial or fear of ugly truths and how facing and accepting the ultimate truth allows us to truly live."

But it is this little phrase in her bio that I cannot get out of my mind, "there is a dynamic tension between fate and free will."

When I listen to her music, I can hear this tension.  It is bewitching.

The first song on the record is To All The Cowboys.  It centers on a groovy little acoustic guitar riff that hypnotizes the listener while brushed drum create an air of static and understated keyboards take you to a transcendent place.

I feel as though I am floating over a tormented sea.

And then their are the vocals. beautiful and devoid of ornamentation.  Whether she is singing "To all the cowboys that I ever loved" or "To all the sailors that I ever loved", I feel like she might be singing about one of my past incarnations.

When she sings "To all the dreamers that I ever loved", all doubt is removed.\

This song, along with the rest of the album, is pure original delight.  An unexpected jewel of a debut.

Click Here to listen to To All The Cowboys.