Posts Tagged ‘Nathan Bowles’

Bill MacKay & Nathan Bowles – “I See God”

The new collab LP from Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles already hit out string with the instrumental romp “Joy Ride,” but that’s only one shade of their new album. While the last cut loped along on the players pushing each other down a sunny hillside, the new tune, “I See God” explores their more somber side. The song is equally pulling from bluegrass and gospel to form a county square dance closer that’s quiet and contemplative. The song, originally by husband and wife duo E.C. and Orna Ball is given a more choral feel with the two male voices replacing the original give and take between the couple. Though they match E.C.’s sprightly fingerpicking, fleshing the song out a bit with a bit of organ orchestration. Its a tender old time slice of the past that’s given a new life sighing out of the strings of Bowles and MacKay. 2021 has no lack of guitar greats on the way, but this one should be pretty high on the list. Keys is out April 9th from Drag City.

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Black Twig Pickers – “Roan Mountain Sally Ann”

Really great to see this one coming through today. It’s been since 2015 that we’ve had a release from the great Black Twig Pickers and the band have let loose the news that a new LP is on the way from VHF. In the interim, the profiles of the players have risen, at least in the folk circles that seem the most potent. With Sally Anne Morgan just off an excellent debut LP last year, Bowles constantly surpassing any expectation with his recent releases and Gangloff building out the Spiral Joy Band. With the assembled players back in place they resume their exploration of traditional songs, finding a weather-beaten beauty in the old-time temperament that never seems to truly leave the American consciousness. The impression of these songs is made more apparent with the air of isolation hanging overhead. Made for community and built upon the joy in gathered celebration, the songs here are imbued with a raw emotive quality that’s as hard to pin down and document, but the band lifts these songs up out of the town squares and open-air markets and threads them into tape, making us all a part of the gathered mass.

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Bill MacKay & Nathan Bowles – “Joy Ride”

Yesterday was a bit nuts and so its only today that I’m getting a chance to absorb this lovely new single from two site favorites — Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles. The song is, as the title makes plain, an absolute joy. The pair tumbles through the most verdant valleys of folk and bluegrass to find a mid point that rambles with a honeyed ease. Bowles’ banjo work is never without a soft touch and a bright countenance and it shines through here playing off of Bill’s guitar runs like two friends tumbling down a hill and working their best to keep momentum without running into one another. It’s no hyperbole to say that within one month of popping the tab on ’21, Drag City has already set themselves up as one’s to keep pace on this year. This song just sets up one more highly anticipated high watermark for them when Keys comes out April 9th.

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Sally Anne Morgan – “Thread Song”

Sweet serenity is given flight on the first peek into Sally Anne Morgan’s upcoming LP for Thrill Jockey. The House and Land member is solo, but not quite alone on this LP, assembling a backing band that includes Andrew Zinn, Nathan Bowles, and Joseph Dejarnette. As with her collaborative work in H&L, there’s a traditional folk focus, though “Thread Song” nips at more modern fare, feeling every bit at home with Daniel Bachman, Mountain Man, Black Twig Pickers, or Jake Xerxes Fussell. Morgan’s fiddle gives the track a bittersweet soul and it lilts on the breeze with a fragrant flutter. The rest of the album’s sure to be as winsome and affecting as this. It arrives August 21st on Thrill Jockey.




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