Everyone comes to country in their own time. There’s a point when it just begins to feel right, whether that’s a first heartbreak or the moorings of middle age, the worn down corners and cracked leather linger sometimes needs the right conditions to set in. For Caleb Dailey, despite growing up in the Southwest, the time came later in life, and as with many who’d once scorned the embrace of the amble, it came with a good soaking of Townes, Blaze, and Gram in the mix. He stretches from those touchstones through works by Chips Moman, steel guitarist Buddy Emmons, and Gordon Lightfoot. On Warm Evenings, Pale Mornings: Beside You Then, Dailey weaves a weathered tapestry of the past, knowing nod to the songwriters he’s interpreting, but also a sort of waking dream that transforms the songs into something somnambulant, an album that leans into the spacious desperation of some of these songs.
The lure of the lament is certainly the guiding light here and Dailey ably takes the inherent ramble of the songs and slows them down to a twilight crawl. Merging the current crop of Cosmic Country with its more ambient tributary, the album churns its strange magic with a disparate, but nonetheless adept crew. James Fella (Soft Shoulder), Jay Hufman (Gene Tripp), Lonna Kelley (Giant Sand), Japanese DIY hero Koji Shibuya, Nicholas Krgovich, and Markus Acher of The Notwist all make their way into the mix. There’s even an interlude from Little Wings’ Kyle Field. The result feels like it might fit onto the shelf next to Low and Bedhead more so than Rose City Band, but there’s a nice medium to be found between those bookends. A lovely entry to the new wave of Cosmic Americana, and not a half bad way to end any day. Caleb casts country for the downer set.
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