Born and raised in the sleepy streets of Spokane, Washington Karli Fairbanks has been a well-known presence in the local music scene for the last three years, collaborating widely and playing alongside some of the talented and increasingly successful young musicians who are putting Spokane back on the music radar. A hard-working multi-instrumentalist, Karli cut her teeth on classical piano and now brings both a careful sensibility and very deliberate wistfulness to the folk and country music she has lately favored. Switching easily from guitar to melancholy piano ballads, accordion and delicately strummed banjo Karli Fairbanks is equally comfortable playing stripped down acoustic sets or taking lead on a crowded stage as she sings alongside some of the incredible musicians she calls collaborators and friends.
The last few years have seen Karli Fairbanks play alongside an increasingly long-list of accomplished musicians including Josh Ritter, Nick Jaina, The Beautiful Clarks, Troubletown, Weinland, My Brightest Diamond, Pickwick, White Hinterland David Bazan, Damien Jurado, Kate Tucker, Run On Sentence, The Maldives, Matt Bauer, Norfolk and Western, Horse Feathers and Johanna Kunin. Extensive touring and the opportunity to work with such incredible musicians has had something of a hothouse effect on Karli’s music with three releases in the last two years tracking her swift progression as a gifted, young songwriter. Her recent five song EP, “Meet Me in the Open Space,” is an attempt to capture the intimate, stripped down sound so familiar to anyone who’s heard Karli play live recently.
Watching a Karli Fairbank’s set is an oddly consuming experience. Haunting, ethereal and wise beyond her twenty odd years, Karli Fairbank’s voice is captivating. Bringing to mind the whiskey-tongued weariness of Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Patty Griffin, Karli steps almost effortlessly into a long tradition of ladies who know how to take up their guitar and put a broken heart to good use. Not to call Karli anything but original; her songs display a healthy respect for beautiful voices both past and present whilst at the same time retaining a brave edge, unique to her own story.