Trio of Awesuhm Release New Album ‘cowboys&aliens’

Singer/songwriter Monica Uhm goes by the name Trio Of Awesuhm. Her album, a collaboration with fellow New York musicians, is a folkish collection of sincere songs.

Many of these compositions lean toward progressive social messages, best exemplified by the determination expressed with “Nevertheless.” The album’s overall sonic vibe might remind you of Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs. Perhaps the album’s best song, though, is one with a simpler message. “After the Show” wonders aloud if love will remain, long after the romantic energy expelled during a concert. The track is a country tune, highlighted by harmonica and fiddle. The song also finds Uhm sounding comfortable and relaxed, without any political/social agenda at the top of her mind.

“Just Hurting” is another simpler song. It doesn’t try and overcomplicate painful experiences. It also sounds to be a breakup song where the pain of separation is still palpable. Its instrumental bed is equally basic, built upon empathetic acoustic piano.

One titled “Love Everybody” features a lyric about a free spirit, and someone that lives a simple life. Her motto: Love everybody, hurt no one. This giving girl is described as one who creates beauty just for the benefit of others. “And she’s singing out the window/Just in case there is someone needs a lullaby.” One wonders if this is somebody Uhm knows; somebody who has always impressed her. Maybe, though, this is the person Uhm wants to become. We oftentimes live such self-centered lives. We don’t usually think about performing random acts of kindness, just in case a nearby person – whether friend or stranger – could really use it. “We all need a reminder/There’s love and someone cares.” It’s not unusual to feel a little guilty whenever encountering a truly altruistic individual. It can be a good thing, though, if it shames us into being a better human.

“Nevertheless” includes a lyric that can be applied to multiple situations. It’s meant for underdogs and directed at those that may have been told to ‘just give it up.’ To throw in the towel. To call it a day. Its an anthem for those that, though advised to surrender a dream, do not give in.

The album’s most soulful track is “Adios.” Uhm’s vocal is understated and kind of sexy. On it, she’s supported by some wonderful keyboard sounds. It features extended organ and piano parts. Uhm sounds particularly good when she’s singing lyrics in a playful manner, the way she does here. The album’s loudest track is “More And More,” which begins with a crunchy, hard rock guitar riff.

Just as many of Uhm’s ideals are old school and time-tested, so also is her music. It’s relatively organic, at lease when compared to all of today’s high tech hip-hop and EDM. It’s the sort of album older folks will appreciate because it will remind them how music was created, back when rock & roll was still young. There’s a sincerity running through this collection of songs, which is an element that all too rarely comes to mind when listening to contemporary music. It’s a rare as encountering honest-to-goodness real cowboys and space aliens, in fact.

-Dan MacIntosh