The right kind of summer night begs for fingerpicked guitar, and right now there’s nothing that’s hitting the spot quite like this LP from Josh Kimbrough. The record is an ode to fatherhood, nature, and solitude — elements that might feel right at home in the midst of a very distant 2020. The record works the less showy end of the fingerpicked spectrum, something that I’ve been a vocal fan of for quite a few years (to put it mildly). Rather than a flurry of notes that knock the listener backwards, Kimbrough is working through patient melodies that saunter and sway, aided and abetted by a supporting bench that includes members of Jake Xerxes Fussell’s band, The Nathan Bowles Trio, Bowerbirds, and features production from Jeff Crawford (The Dead Tongues, Big Star’s Third).
The tone quite is appropriately isolated, though not necessarily lonesome. Kimbrough lets his runs ripple and ramble, buoyed by a bevy of flutes, fiddle, mandolin, and banjo. The songs on Slither, Soar & Disappear are tender and torn, reserved in their approach, though they leave an impression on the listener that’s hardly delicate. Like the natural world they seek to emulate, the songs open up to the sun, bow lightly to the morning dew, and weave themselves seamlessly into the heartbeat of the Earth. The rocord is a companion to calm days and a course correction for those that skew more frantic. If the slowdown of society has left you time to ponder the natural course for awhile, you could do no better than to use Kimbrogh’s LP as a guide to the underside of the mossy path.
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