As any casual surveyor of the musical landscape will know, there has been a recent revival in folk music. Teresa Maldonado, a.k.a. Georgia’s Horse, adds to this concoction, slipping under the radar to offer handcrafted songs like woven blankets. In her latest release, Weather Codes, gentle breezes of melodies sweep through the record behind Maldonado’s airy voice––perfect for lounging in the country.
At first, the album seems like a mixed bag. The opening, “Apple,” features twangy strings and harmonica with bluesy group vocals. If Adele was Delta-fied, this would be her new single. The more esoteric “Ginger” is a bit more difficult to wrap your head around. At some points it sounds like a dance tune right out of Fiddler on the Roof with a bit of Middle Eastern flare, while at others it’s an orchestral arrangement with smooth vocals on par with mid-era James Bond theme songs. The ragtime piano of “Fancy” exhibits the influence of the band’s Texan location and could easily be played in a saloon underneath the sounds of clinking glasses and the clack of billiards.
Maldonado knows how to create great, simple songs. “Westlake,” the strongest track, is layered with keys in the style of Copeland, and the subtle instrumentation is like white cake––simple but tasty. It sounds like the documentation of roadside scenic overlooks by way of music. The cinematic feel of “Weather Codes Pt. 2″ would feel right at home in the twenties, like Sufjan Stevens doing cabaret. The beauty of Maldonado’s musicality shines through in dreamy jazz compositions that could be antique phonograph recordings. She is not the most dynamic musician, but what she does, she does well.
The record’s weakest moments come when Maldonado is too subtle. “The Millers,” with its breathy lines and tinkly acoustic guitar, is ultimately unforgettable, and “Strep Throat” has no substance to it. Despite the small flaws, Weather Codes is a wonderfully solid release, chock full of soulful vocals and relaxing instrumentals. It’s well worth scouring the outskirts of the folk scene to find this album.