Folk Warmth: House & Land, Lasers Lasers Birmingham, Rachael Dadd, C. Joynes & The Furlong Bray, Nora Brown And Moon Bros.
House and Land: Across The Field
Only a few short weeks left in the year, so many great new discoveries and still a few more to come. The time of season feels right for some Americana, doesn’t it? This week I’ve got a nice set of across-the-spectrum folk music for you to ride out the last days of the decade with. First up is North Carolina duo House and Land playing a lovely, rickety Appalachian, guitar, fiddle and banjo and the voices of Sarah Louise and Sally Anne Morgan channeling the music of the region, the music playing and singing itself. This is bare bones in the best way possible, for listening in front of a fire on a winter’s night. Enjoy!
Lasers Lasers Birmingham: Warning
On the other end of the musical weather spectrum is Warning from Lasers Lasers Birmingham. This is an easygoing country that’s made for cold canned beer sippin’ mid-summer. Still, good music goes good any time of year, and L.A. songster Alex Owen has a treat of great country tunes, augmented by a superb cosmic pedal and slide guitar accompaniment. Lasers Lasers Birmingham isn’t just one of the best new-to-me band/persona names, it’s a killer set of modern day country music of the highest caliber, from the opening title track on down. Dig it!
Rachael Dadd: Flux
Of course, there’s great folk music on the other side of the ocean and if we look to our friends over in the U.K. we find Rachael Dadd, one of my favorite discoveries of the year. She orbits and collaborates in the same space as fellow RecommNeds’ers This is the Kit and Rozi Plain and if you dig those women (and damn, you should, some of my favorites), you will definitely love Dadd’s progressive folk. The album is called Flux and it’s filled with addictive melodies, listen-up vocals, boundary-pushing arrangements and terrrific songwriting. If you dig the best in modern folk, this is a must listen.
C Joynes & the Furlong Bray: The Borametz Tree
Staying in the U.K., we catch up with guitarist C. Joynes in Cambridge. His new project is called C. Joynes & the Furlong Bray and is a magical weirdness of instrumental folk explorations. The album is called The Borametz Tree which is named after a “semi-mythological plant described in 16th century travelers’ tales.” Indeed, the music sounds like a semi-mythological dream from a long ago time, like a midnight jam session in Middle Earth, sprites and fairies dancing around to around a fire. Which is to say, Joynes and company are playing folk music from, perhaps, a people and places that only exist in someone’s imagination. In the end, it don’t matter, this is the goods, something different, but with a cozy familiarity all the same. Give it a shot!
Nora Brown: Cinnamon Tree
Brooklyn banjo player Nora Brown is 13-years-old, which is something, sure, but really beside the point. If she was 13 or 30 or 90, her music would be just as time traveling magic. Like fellow folksters and previous RecommNed’s vets Jakes Xerxes Fussell or Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves, Brown sounds like something from another era and place, an old spirit playing forgotten traditional, songs that have been unearthed in an archaeological dig and cleaned up so that we can hear them as they must have sounded when they were originally played. Nora’s banjo and voice take you to that place and time, it’s pretty special. Her debut is Cinnamon Tree and certain to be the first of many.
Moon Bros.: The Easy Way Is Hard Enough
We’ll finish up this week’s set of recs with The Easy Way Is Hard Enough, the newest release from Chicago’s Moon Bros., i.e. guitarist Matthew Schneider. One on hand, this is another fantastic guitar album, Schneider’s acoustic six and 12-strings sounding oh-so-sweet in easy-to-love melodies, expertly picked. On the other hand, there’s so much more to this album, the guitar playfully accompanied by harmonica, bass and steel guitar, less a band than a loose group of friends falling into easygoing conversation. Mostly instrumental, Moon Bros. is a modern, delicious twist on the primitive guitar style, a perfect folk music for our time. I’d give it a listen if I were you, I think you’ll enjoy.