Bobruk Brings Cinematic Sound to Youngstown, OH

Trib Today Article Online

Aimee Bobruk draws on a host of diverse influences with her songwriting and recording.

On her new album "/ba.'brook/" (the phonetic spelling of her last name), there's "A Day in the Life," which has the bouncy naivete of Kimya Dawson's songs from the soundtrack of the movie "Juno." "Desert Bloom" was inspired by a passage from a Carson McCullers short story, while "Perfect Circumstance" was influenced by a Japanese theater production she saw in Scotland.

"Omanishko" comes from a desire to write a song with a nonsense word like Roger Miller's "Do-Wacka-Do," although the final result is closer to early Suzanne Vega than Miller's wacky wordplay. On "Self-Sabotage," she tried to channel "Blue Angel"-era Marlene Dietrich - "That burlesque singer who doesn't give a s--- about it, who's so worn out," Bobruk said.

After a week of shows in her home base of Texas to coincide with the album's release Jan. 31, Bobruk is spending February on the road for a tour that includes a free show Wednesday at the Lemon Grove in Youngstown with Hilary York.

Bobruk said she posted on Facebook that she was off to discover America, but she liked the response from one of her friends - "No, it's time for America to discover you."

"/ba.'brook/" could help make that happen. The songs have a cinematic quality that is brought out in the studio in the arrangements featuring producer/bassist Brian Beattie (who's produced albums by Daniel Johnston and Okkervil River) and percussionist Dony Wynn (who's worked with Robert Plant and Robert Palmer).

"I knew Dony from before," Bobruk said. "I knew I wanted him to be my main percussionist on the record. He's played with so many great people. I get tired of something that's safe and like to take something and look at it from a different angle. He has his bag of goodies I think I called him something like the 'Santa Claus of percussion' and he comes in with baskets of soundmakers and things people have given him. And my sound doesn't lend itself to a standard (drum) kit."

Bobruk, 31, released her first EP in 2003. In the last decade, she was named one of Austin's top 10 acts by Austin Monthly magazine, has co-written two top 20 Danish hits through her involvement with the Danish Songwriter's Guild and shared the stage with such acts as Dr. John, Alejandro Escovedo, Ian McLagen and Freedy Johnston.

The fan base she's built up enabled here to finance the recording of "/ba.'brook/" through a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $12,000 (the goal was $10,000). It gave her the money to make the record she wanted and to connect more with her audience.

"I think they want to be a part of something, get the music first, see videos," Bobruk said. "People want to see behind the scenes."