The Second part of my annual music roundup.
Jack White : Did You Hear John Hurt? (from Another Day, Another Time)
The Avett Brothers : That’s How I Got To Memphis (from Another Day, Another Time)
Danny Schmidt : Cries Of Shadows (from Owls)
Eliza Gilkyson : Peace Call (from Land Of Milk & Honey)
Bruce Cockburn : Pacing The Cage (from Slice O Life)
The Honey Dewdrops : Loneliest Songs (from Tangled Country)
Eric Bibb : Sittin’ In A Hotel Room (from Deeper In The Well)
Joan Shelley : No More Shelter (from Over And Even)
Son Volt : True To Life (Live At The Bottom Line 2/12/96) (from Trace)
Donovan : Epistle To Derroll (from A Gift From A Flower To A Garden)
Dar Williams : If I Wrote You (from Many Great Companions)
Bill Morrissey & Greg Brown : Fishing With Bill (from Friend Of Mine)
The Cowboy Junkies : Misguided Angel (from The Trinity Sessions)
Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer : Way Over Yonder in The Minor Key (from Little Blue Egg)
Tangled Country is the 4th album by Baltimore’s The Honey Dewdrops. Not a trace to be found of the Wire’s gritty, ugly urbanism on it, thankfully.
The Honey Dewdrops are on the way to carving themselves a niche of exceedingly fine purveyors of the lonesome, gentle side of Alternative Country. Young was the first track of theirs I ever heard, and it quickly became clear to me, that their music was exactly my cup of tea. It’s a poignant summarization of the feeling many of us can relate to (certainly I can) of not being that young anymore and finding yourself slightly bewildered by the changes taking place to anybody else’s lifestyle, except you. The only thing preventing it from becoming a classic for me are its rather modern lyrics with their allusions to flat screen TV’s, Bluetooth and Facebook.
There’s a number of outstanding songs on here, such as the aforementioned Young. But this excellent song gets topped by Loneliest Songs – which is simply stunningly beautiful and lovely. One of the best songs I have heard in a long while. Plus, it’s pretty much the only song I can think of on which the bass is the instrument I like best, it’s plucking away wonderfully and forlornly in the background. Their masterpiece of a song so far, I’d say (not having heard any of their other records). Also excellent is the gorgeous Numb, the song most veering towards conventional country music sounds, I love the harmonica on here a whole lot.
The instrumental album closer Remington is quite amazing too, although it’s making do without Laurie Wortman’s enchanting vocals which are contributing substantially to making most songs on Tangled Country especially wonderful.
I am most probably not the only that has to think about Gillian Welch & David Rawlings listening to their music. And the fact that they do not quite reach that other, slightly more famous couple’s mile high class, can only be attributed to Welch and Rawlings being so far above and beyond anybody else in the field of this kind of music, at least in my book. BUT, on this very fine album, they definitely do come rather close to that on a number of songs. An album to cherish for a long, long time.
A fine live version of Loneliest Songs (without that fabulous bass of the album version, unfortunately).
Lovely acoustic & live version of a fine song, I unfortunately have to admit, wasn’t aware of before. Shame on me.