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To awaken and soothe

Hannah Mayree's take on traditional folk is gorgeous and utterly magnetic

Hannah Mayree flaunts her trad-folk bonafides in a swooning, hypnotic way. Photo credit: Facebook

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Where were you when you first were moved by the music of just one voice and one instrument? You'd be a liar if you didn't say that you'd crossed this threshold as a very small child. While we, as a species, quickly become accustomed to a big band full of many moving parts, we first become attuned to the notion of one thing following another, being gently blended into one collective melange: first, sweetly sung voice; next, maybe a bit of percussion; a strummed guitar or other stringed instrument may come next; and some xylophones open our ears to a chiming tune that seems completely foreign. Before you know it, we're grown up and cynical, skipping from one Gwar to another just to get a little bit of variety back into our lives, the Raffi's of our childhoods long stripped away.

Still, it starts out so simply: one beautiful voice and one strummed guitar. We find our ways back there, perhaps, through artists that meet us halfway: Simon and Garfunkel, for instance, struck that balance of simplicity and ambition, creating a gateway for many future music-lovers to bridge the gap between their early exposure to the arts and what they would end up liking with more nuanced palates. Hannah Mayree, a singer-songwriter out of Sacramento, finds inspiration in traditional folk music, rendered simply gorgeous through her open and vulnerable vocals. Her 2017 album, Thoughts of the Night, is a mixture of original compositions and covers, utilizing her multi-instrumentalist credentials to craft songs that are stacked with many layers of her talents.

Rustic and intimate, these songs present Mayree's many strengths front and center, her voice harmonizing with itself, her musicianship providing the diverse backbone, and her peccadilloes bringing styles in from all matter of international folk. Like Simon and Garfunkel, she even takes the opportunity to put the ever-haunting "Scarborough Fair" on record. Songs like "Laying Hen" are so winsome and joyous that it's nigh impossible not to get swept up in their mood. Listening to Hannah Mayree may have the unintended effect of bringing you back to a simpler time, when music needed only to soothe and awaken you, and I can't think of anything better to hear right now.

HANNAH MAYREE, w/ Seymour Love, w/ guests, 7 p.m., Sunday, Cascadia Brewing Co., 211 4th Ave. E., Olympia, 360.943.2337


It's odd to think of the brief musical movement from the mid-'60s dubbed the British Invasion, knowing now how long-lasting and deeply felt the ripples from that invasion would be. A term used to describe a very simple phenomenon of British rock bands rapidly gaining popularity in the United States, the British Invasion has since become a sort of catchall signifier of a type of sound and style: cribbing from the American playbook of R&B, mixed with a bright melodicism and frequently a mod aesthetic. Bands like the Hollies, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Yardbirds, the Who, and the Beatles -- all, at one point or another, given the British Invasion designation -- have their tendrils felt in all manner of music, from heavy metal to neo-folk, from psych-rock to power-pop.

All of this likely coming from some music critic saying, "Boy, those dumb kids sure do love these British bands all of a sudden, huh?"

It's not always that bands who've been influenced by the British Invasion wear that sound so prominently, but Vanilla is a band that does. The Tacoma-area band, playing at The Valley on Friday, has been around for over a decade, steadily practicing their power-pop style, but their latest album makes their subtext overt; titled Mystik Knights of Takoma, the six-track EP is stuffed with catchy hooks and incorrigible bursts of upbeat guitar rock, ending with a cover of "Itchycoo Park," a 1967 hit from the Small Faces, one of the seminal British Invasion acts. Regan Lane, from fellow power-pop devotees Strangely Alright, takes guest vocals on the song, and it all combines in a perfect storm of '60s nostalgia and fuzzy immediacy.

Vanilla is made up of Jayson Jarmon, Sean Gaffney, Dana Sims, and Kord Taylor. On Mystik, blend blissful psychedelia with rocksteady hooks for an unbreakable combination.

VANILLA, w/ the Sky Giants, Steve Aliment's Albro Swift Exit, 9 p.m., Friday, Airport Tavern, 5406 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, 253.212.0709

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