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NYC Urban Cowgirl: Bri Arden

NYC Urban Cowgirl: Bri Arden

Among the many peculiarities of NYC's music, 22 year old Bri Arden is one of the reasons it's so hard to make any reasonable attempt at pinning down our city's music sound convincing. The Americana singer/songwriter looks and sounds like she just flew in from Texas, but Arden was in fact born right here in downtown NYC. Listening to songs from her second record "Awake," like barnburner 'Mr. Anonymous' or the wispy 'Wherever You Go,' your first impression might be of an alt-country singer filed somewhere between Carrie Underwood or Lady Antebellum. She has an unassuming and relaxed charm usually associated with the bible belt heartland that young female country singers call home, so she's something of an anomaly here in our neck of the woods. Arden's latest record was fashioned while majoring in Gender Studies at Columbia University, and on it you're going to hear a lot more talk about boys than about the kind of female relationships she writes about in some detail on her blog. I know I shouldn't stereotype philanthropic feminists (she also gives much of her time to causes like orphanages and AIDS charities), I guess I just wasn't expecting Arden to sound so relatable and well...vulnerable with her gifts. Most of her record deals in the working out of complex girl-meets-world emotions ranging from lovestruck longing to lovestruck heartache and similar lovestruck emotional negotiations. Arden's material construct a bridge I didn't know existed between country soul and urban power-pop. The urban cowgirl shows off a side of things I didn't see coming out of NYC, but it's good to know Muskogee doesn't have anything on Manhattan. - Mike Levine

Published: January 24, 2012 |

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