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My Brightest Diamond

by Archives November 1, 2006

Her granddaddy is an Epiphone-playing, traveling evangelist; her mother plays the church organ; and her pop’s a 1965 National Accordion Champion. Shara Worden obviously has music in her blood, and not the Kelly Osbourne type. Formally called AwRY, her band renamed itself My Brightest Diamond and is coming to Montreal to blind us all.

According to the L.A. Times, “It’s hard to characterize other Indie rock vocalists as singers after listening to My Brightest Diamond.” And that’s not an overstatement. The band is playing at La Sala Rossa on Nov. 7 and Worden promises an “intimate and electrifying” live show. Speaking to her by phone from Brooklyn, the 32-year-old talked about her family, her idols, and her latest album Bring Me The Workhorse.

So what does someone with a background in opera and performance art, who recorded her first song at the age of three, sound like? Like she definitely knows what she’s doing. My Brightest Diamond flawlessly mixes pop, opera and instrumental experimentation with poetically whimsical lyrics. If you even slightly like Portishead or Tori Amos, you’ll love My Brightest Diamond. But if you don’t like Portishead, you’ll still love Worden’s music because it’s not quite so ” slit-your-wrists” depressing. And if Amos isn’t your cup of tea, Worden’s less aggressive nature will suit you.

Her ethereal but structured voice is often compared to Puccini, but her guitar playing is all rock, reminiscent of PJ Harvey. Worden blurs the lines between rock show and recital, giving her audience a performance to remember, cabaret-style costumes included. “When at home, sometimes I wear jeans,” she joked, “but I like dressing up because, just in general, clothing can be so expressive.”

The band is made up of Worden on vocals, violinist Rob Moose, Marla Hansen on the viola, cellist Maria Jeffers, Sebastian Krueger on guitar, Chris Bruce on bass and Earl Harvin on drums. If you think their choice of instruments is unique, wait until you hear how this group came together. Thanks to Craigslist, a classified ads database on the internet, Worden found her violinist and guitarist – the equivalent of finding your soul mate online.

“What I did was I posted a really specific post that I knew only certain people that were ‘in the know’ would understand. There was filtering through that. I really just took a chance though,” said Worden.

Her musically adept family never put any pressure or expectations on her, which could explain why the songstress is such a creative musician. “They have been really great about it and, if anything.I don’t know how to articulate it.they have been very loose.” Originally from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Worden fell in love with New York City when she moved there to pursue music. “Literally, for about five minutes I wanted to be a painter but I’m not very good. There was never anything else for me,” she said.

Worden has been inspired by a wide spectrum of artists ranging from Prince to Regina Spektor, who she said is “one of the most creative people I’ve ever met.” She’s also got a slight obsession with French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet, to whom she is distantly related. “We could talk about him all day, I adore that man.”

The band’s new album on Asthmatic Kitty Records, Bring me the Workhorse, deals with changed perceptions after life-altering events. “One sentence in a conversation can send you thinking for a couple of weeks, so we’re always growing,” said Worden. Acknowledging there will always be clich

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