A lot of the music I listen to is at times slightly noisy with electric guitars trying to create magic just by being loud. And I enjoy it. Mostly. But the enjoyment is a two-edged sword, as it makes it harder to open up my ears to music that’s either acoustic or closer to pop. At times, when listening to submitted albums – I suspect some of them are written off just because they don’t sound like the music I enjoy listening to at that point in time. Unfair, maybe – but music is subjective, and with the number of submissions we get here it’s at times hard to give everything a fair spin.
Last night I returned home after the funeral of an old friend who recently died, not yet 40 years old. I wanted some music to take my mind off the world and its unfairness, and in my bloggers-mailbox I found a follow-up from Devon, the guy who does PR for Cahalen & Eli (who should be quite happy with choosing a PR-guy with persistence), asking what I thought of the album he had sent me a few weeks back.
I must admit that I spun it when I got it, and unfortunately it was in cue after the worst banjo-album of all time and a re-submission of Chance McCoys solo album. I just had gotten enough acoustic music and banjo at that time. Yes, it IS actually possible to get fed up with the banjo. Didn’t believe it myself until it happened.
Anyway, I was sad and pissed at the world and really wore down. But I put the album on, hooked up my headphones and gave “Our Lady Of The Tall Trees” another listen. And something in that acoustic, old-timey folk music just clicked home. I listened to it several times last night and into the early hours. And I put it back on this morning to drown the sounds from my kid’s “Saturday morning is Disney channel bonanza”-ritual.
And let me tell you; Cahalen Morrison and Eli Wests “Our Lady Of The Tall Trees” is actually a wonderful piece of work that does wonders to heal troubled minds. There’s something about their soothing, reassuring harmonies that seems to come to you as a whisper from the past. Old time folk music turns out to be the perfect medicine for disillusion and hate towards a world that seems to have lost all sense of justice.
The sky she’s a menace
but the river she rolls free.
Turnin’ stone to sand and wind to wave
It says it has to be.
The sky rolls on in us,
but the river flows confined.
Bringing current to the world
and a stillness to the mind.
I’ve mentioned their harmonies, and they are exquisite, but they wouldn’t have much to work with had it not been for the songwriting and the instrumentation. It’s all very basic, mostly an acoustic guitar and a banjo or a mandolin – but it’s done with such love for the music and with such musicianship that it’s all you need to get the message across.
They trade main vocal duties when they’re not singing harmonies, making sure the album never gets boring or one-dimensional – as such a stripped down album might get.