pinetop seven – bringing home the last great strike

i think i first discovered a pinetop seven album in canada in 2002. there had to have been some link to other music i loved – i mean, while i’ve been known to take a step outside the house and buy something i’ve never heard of based simply on imagery and art, i don’t think this was one of them.

they’re on the atavistic label which i’d discovered through boxhead ensemble and the phenomenally desolate and beautiful film, dutch harbor: where the sea breaks its back. also, ken vandermark played on an earlier release (which i’ll get to). this is where you start to see some of the ‘web theory’ constructing my appreciation of music.

this album has qualities of warmth and place, like fields and hills. it’s orchestral and layers in the vocals, lyrics and, well, banjo and slide guitar in what might otherwise have seemed out of place as a collection in the same vessel.

i’d like to think i’ll discover something in everything i listen to over the next 485 days. but what if i don’t? what if there ends up being something there that suddenly feels like nothing? i’m not saying this pinetop seven album has done that, but it has made me wonder.

its own something is some connection to story telling of ‘the old country’. the stories these songs tell are simple and quite straightforward – no big issues, only veiled politics, and almost entirely of an america i don’t know. it’s nothing against daz, the vocalist, but the songs i love most on this album are the instrumentals (and moments in other songs where you focus on the outstanding sounds). this speaks more to the weight and depth that lyric-less music can carry (such as the dirty three or, as above, boxhead ensemble) rather than a problem with the singing and sung about in these verses.

these guys know how to make beautiful sound.


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