Leave it to Will "Bonnie Prince Billy" Oldham and Matt Sweeney, longtime veterans of the indie/folk scenes and resident Drag City darlings, to find an artist as quirky and compelling as Baby Dee. Safe Inside the Day, Dee's third record, and her first for Drag City, is a rollicking yet intimate freak show, warm and heartbreaking and, above all, entertaining.
Former church organist, former street performer, former harpist dressed as a bear, former professional tree climber, and former male, among other incarnations, Baby Dee sings oldtime vaudeville-style "popular" songs, bawdy and rife with naughty references, an autobiography penned by piano, harp and even a bit of guitar. She’s got an androgynous voice, like a woman who's had too much cigarettes and whiskey.
Oldham and Sweeney produced the album helped Dee and friends flesh it out, and the songs ache with honesty and levity. She's funny, she's loud, she's got a mouth on her and she's not afraid to open it. From "The Dance of Diminishing Possibilities," recounting the time when her brash and goofy neighbors smashed up their piano in their front yard when she was a toddler, to "The Only Bones that Show," the sweeping laundry list of all the strange twists her life has taken, Dee shows herself to be a master raconteur and musician.
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