Singer crafts urban lullabies for adults

By Monica Giesbrecht

Lullaby Baxter Trio is probably the only non-trio, non-musician who’s ever made it big just two years after first picking up a guitar. You may not have heard of Lullaby Baxter’s brainchild Angelina Teresa Lapaolo, but you can catch her at this weekend’s Folk Fest. There you can take notice of her cryptic nursery rhyme lyrics and smooth jazzy voice.

"It’s like music that evokes nostalgia for a time that never existed," said Lapaolo, quoting a friend.

When Lapaolo describes her music, I can’t help but decode her colourful diction. Words like "erudite" and "virtuoso" echo the obscure cast of her album Capable Egg. She admits that she and her writer, Lutwidge Sedgewick, both love dated words–ones that people don’t use any more, but you still know what they mean.

"Knucklehead’s" lyrics, "Butterfly’s wear boxing gloves to clobber all the ones you love," sound like a collaboration of random words in syrupy tune. Though it sounds irrational, Lapaolo describes her reality for "Knucklehead" clearly. It’s about being overwhelmed with the music industry, "and wanting to just hide under the covers basically."

Poor poor Knucklehead
Can I buy you a brand new featherbed?
Can I roll you to the circus
And shoot you from a cannon
In that brand new featherbed?

"I mean, everyone can relate. I mean how many times have you felt that way? Ahh the world, it’s freaking me out," she says.

Negating comprehension of her songs, the music creates a fairy tale world that the listener can appreciate. Lapaolo describes it as having its own reasoning. It makes light of dark emotions. It’s her reaction to disapproval from experienced musicians.

"I’m not a musician. A lot of people call me an artist masquerading as a musician," Lapaolo boasts, likening her music to her art-decorated keychains, playing cards and car fresheners. "I thought, everybody sees these. Put something on them."

Her non-genre music appeals to a number of different tastes. It identifies with jazz, folk music and pop music, but it’s none of those.

Lapaolo has no intellectually targeted audience either. Some people may relate to the emotion–maybe they just think it’s beautiful–or if they are really musically minded go, "Wow, these players are really slammin’."

She replied to criticism of her music by saying, "I don’t think I was put on this earth to do it like everybody else."

And some musicians agree, admitting their amazement at how simplistically she plays. Some aim to revert back to where she began, to try the things her unmolded mind dares to try.

Lapaolo’s creativity and incredible ability to create an unused sound is definitely admirable. Though the songs are sing-songy sweet and perfect for a bubble bath with candles, her woe takes some getting used to. Each song’s melody seems to clash with the lyrical tone, creating a musically awkward contradiction. So, next time you’re in a light-hearted, pensive mood be sure to throw on Lullaby Baxter Trio to woo your woes away.

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