Guitarist Buck Curran, has woven his way deep into the folk and psych-folk worlds over the past decade. He’s best known for his work with Arborea, but just as instrumental is his organizing of the compilation Leaves of Life which included Devendra Banhart, Marissa Nadler and Alela Diane, and two Robbie Basho tributes that have helped to shed light on the vital artist in the past few years. He’s also given new life to live Basho recordings via his imprint Obsolete Recordings this year. In 2016 he broke out from Arborea to play solo works, though they leaned harder on the psych than the folk element. On his second solo outing he fully embraces his acoustic persona, drawing from a well of Takoma ‘60s and ‘70s inspirations, especially on the first side that plays out the full extent of the Afternoon Ragas referenced in the album’s title.
He blends the wandering psych troubadour influences and mournful guitar divinations with some electric rumble as the record ekes into the second side, and though Curran still pulls stark sadness from the strings he marries his fingerpicked heartache to a spectral blues form on “Taurus.” The clouds part on the wistful “Dirt Floor,” in no small part due to the lilting vocals from Adele Papparlardo. She injects bit of sun to the album’s largely overcast emotions, though it’s easy to see how someone invested in Basho’s legacy would run a thread of somber sincerity through their own works. A lovely collection for those interested in the aforementioned Takoma period or latter-day pickers like Chasney, Bishop or Rose. Curran’s crafted a record that easily slots itself on the shelf next to any of those three.
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