Rob Noyes & Sam Moss


As always, Scissor Tail Records remains a divining rod of excellent folk and acoustic music. The label’s been quietly serving up classics from Rosali, Scott Hirsch, Sarah Louise, and label head Dylan Aycock over the past few years and the latest run of gorgeously packaged tapes shows no signs of a dip in quality. Alongside a split from Aycock and Joshua Massad and a solo jaunt from Danish guitarist Anders Holst, this rustic, spiritual split from Rob Noyes and Sam Moss has been just the thing to soothe the restless spirit this week. Pairing fingerpicked guitar and violin, the tape has the feeling of a fireside village collaboration — seasoned artists playing off one another to settle the dust of the day, and perhaps dig out something new from each other in the process. Noyes’ playing is measured and understated. Like Nathan Bowles, who also evokes a sort of Appalachian, colonial American style, Noyes doesn’t trade in flash, but rather in a hypnotic low ramble that serves as an elixir for anxiety.

Moss’ violin is played more as a fiddle than a classical conduit over most of this album. It has a dust in the strings that’s wiser than its years, as if the instrument were passed from family player to family player, picking up a calloused instinct that radiates no matter who’s at the bow. There are certainly moments when the pair hit on something more avant sliced, “Suburban Potions” for example, and “Stairway to the Stars” hits a slightly frantic pitch, breaking their nocturnal spell for just a few minutes. Yet, when they enter the kind of comfort and calm that can be found between the symbiosis of two players in thrall with the push-pull of harmonic air between them, the album becomes a solemn, serene set that feels communal in the best of ways.

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