Take a listening journey with four albums by six artists steeped in masterful primitive folk guitar and rich echoes of Americana with an avant spirit of experimentation and imagination. Featuring Seabuckthorn, Nevada Greene, Scott Tuma, Dylan Golden Aycock, Lake Mary, and M. Sage.
Seabuckthorn – I Could See the Smoke [Lost Tribe Sound]
Under the name Seabuckthorn, UK guitarist Andy Cartwright has fashioned a strikingly unique style using 12-string and resonator guitars finger-picked with masterful agility and surprisingly genuine Americana flavor or bow-drawn to create droning, multi-layered atmospheres of timeless, exotic character and near cinematic scope. According to Cartwright, this particular set was conceived on his summer European tour and, while he opted for a rather ominous title, he felt the music itself embodies “a tranquility to counteract the gravity of these uncertain times, a calm inside the eye of a storm”. It is just these juxtapositions of sound and narrative along with the impeccable musicianship that make I Could See the Smoke a vivid and fascinating listen.
Order here – digital or limited edition cassette
Nevada Greene / Scott Tuma – Ragged Glory [Dismal Niche]
Ragged Hollow is a split between rural-Midwestern instrumental quartet Nevada Greene and pioneering alt-country and ambient guitarist Scott Tuma. Both are long form pieces in excess of 12 minutes. The mood is languid, dreamy, and distinctly pastoral. “Earthquake Hollow” with its bright ambling guitars, flute, violin, and birdsong feels like a gentle morning awakening while Tuma’s “All the Ragged Glory” lulls the listener into a wistful torpor with a sleepy anthem that fades like a desert sunset. An album of real character and out-of-time beauty enhanced by the imagery of the cover art provided by Jacob Crook.
Order here – digital or 12-inch vinyl LP
Dylan Golden Aycock – Church of Level Track [Scissor Tail]
Dylan Golden Aycock, who also records experimental music under the alias Talk West, has made Scissor Tail Editions a home for some of the most interesting avant folk music being made these days. His latest album under his own name is evidence of his own impressive pedigree as a skilled guitarist well-versed in the lineage of imaginative masters like John Fahey and Robbie Basho whose style he embraces with irrefutable authenticity without any constraint to his own fresh ideas and spirit of experimentation. With its dazzling finger work and beautiful pedal steel backdrops, rhythmic inventiveness, and ever-shifting moods, Church of Level Track is an authoritative and exhilarating opus.
Order here – digital, CD (100 copies), hand-numbered vinyl LP (500 copies)
Lake Mary & M. Sage – Wolfwalkers in Daylight [Patient Sounds]
Wolfwalkers in Daylight is a collaboration between Chaz Prymek and Matthew Sage under the respective monikers of Lake Mary and M. Sage. Self-described as “mostly improvisations for intraorbital cowgirl blues and sheepdog dreamscapes”, the partnership here feels anything but force or contrived. They offer five lovely pieces released in cassette form on Sage’s Patient Sounds label, a trio of lively finger-picked melodies (“Welcome to Lake Sage”, “Werewolf Picnic”, and “Down Home”) and a pair of longer, more exploratory pieces – the languorous “Howl (I Know)” and the utterly beautiful “Slow Wolf”. The common purpose and musical telepathy between these two artists is impressive as is their ability to invent on the fly while staying true to the narrative throughout. Very enjoyable on the first listen, but likely to grow on you with every repeat.