The opening chords of "Oak Tree" have been strummed countless times before, but Mirel Wagner's dark acoustic stories are carried by her emotion, not innovation. It's a reminder of how much can be done with one acoustic guitar and one voice.
The Ethiopian-born Finnish singer wanders the forest in the video for the opening track of her sophomore record, When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day. It's coming out in August on Sub Pop, who she signed with after releasing her self-titled record in 2011, a bare-bones folk recording of soft fingerpicking and a distant, piercing voice.
Production on "Oak Tree" is far less raw than on Mirel Wagner, with little embellishments as she sings "I dream, I dream sweet dreams" signalling this is indeed a studio record. But the bareness of her songwriting remains, the record apparently written in a log cabin near Helsinki. "Oak Tree" is a decent start.
Stream When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day on Bandcamp.