The new breed of orchestral-folk bands is nothing if not precocious, and Montreal, Quebec band Little Suns is surely that, as well as spry in its rhythms and wry in its message of hope and companionship.
Bassist for Eleanor Friedberger's current touring band, Cassandra Jenkins is a fine songwriter, singer and arranger in her own right, as evidenced by the new track "Up in Flames," which blends a folk sensibility with misty ambience.
Cave States is a new band of old friends. Anchored in the songwriting of Chris Grabau (Magnolia Summer) and Danny Kathriner (Half Knots and Colonel Ford), and including Todd Schnitzer (Nadine and Half Knots), John Horton (Bottle Rockets and Colonel Ford) and John Higgins (too many bands to name), all hailing from St. Louis, the group has collaborated on a new collection of Americana and folk-swept songs, including this lilting, lyrical prayer for a daughter, "Before My Eyes."
Portland, Ore. songwriter Ryan VanDordrecht says that he aims for "a sound that walks a fine line between polish and unrefined beauty." On the streamlined, harmonica and slide guitar-sparkled "Great American Life" he's achieved just that.
Fans of acoustic swing, a la Dan Hicks or the Asylum Street Spankers, will find kindred spirits in the Appleseed Collective and its new, wry yet melancholy "The Inability to Feel."
"I'm at the bottom rung of the ladder, baby, how could I keep climbin' on up?" asks Vikesh Kapoor on the original folk song "Bottom of the Ladder." But it's the next lines that make the image indelible and universal: "Here I stand with a lightning rod in my hand, but the light strikes at the top."
The haze of the cigarette smoke from the night hung in the sunlight peaking through the bar's pane glass windows. The staff had run in circles attempting to prep the bar for the Sunday patronage and touching up whatever happened the night before.