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The Naysayer



You could say The Naysayer truly began when Anna Padgett borrowed her eight-year-old brother's guitar. As her life took her from Houston to Los Angeles to New York, the novice musician taught herself to play the instrument and even began writing some simple songs on it. In New York, Padgett hooked up with Cynthia Nelson of the acclaimed Louisville indie folk band Retsin, who suggested they play music together. Padgett shyly consented. That was in early 1998. By early 2000, the duo was finally ready to perform live and went on a short tour. After that they were ready to make a record. The result was their debut LP, Deathwhisker.

The music is quiet and lugubrious, simple but elegant, defined as much by what isn't there as what is. Padgett's vocals are crisp, concise, and briskly pretty. Her lyrics are full of lovely, unpredictable poetry that vacillates between the reality of the sidewalk and the fantasy of dreams. And her guitar playing, while not particularly adventuresome, sparkles with an assured simplicity that suits the music. Nelson supplies steady, light percussion and numerous other gentle instrumental touches, including recorder, harmonica, and melodica. The duo also enlists the aid of a few of their well-known friends, including Retsin's Tara Jane O'Neil, who plays a second guitar on a few songs and bass on a few others, Antietam's Tara Key (more guitar), and Ida Pearle (violin). Together these women create some wonderfully understated, lilting songs. It's music to fall asleep to, music to wake up to, music to think to -- music that transports you.