Thank Folk It’s Friday – 21st December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– We picked our top 25 albums and EPs of 2018 including releases from Courtney Marie Andrews, Emma Davis, First Aid Kit, Gregory Alan Isakov, I’m With Her, Imogen Clark, Iron & Wine, Jack Carty & Gus Gardiner, John Flanagan Trio, Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, Kasey Chambers, Laura Veirs, Lúnasa, Marlon Williams, The Milk Carton Kids, Mustered Courage, Old Crow Medicine Show, Passenger, Sam Newton, The Low Anthem, The Paper Kites, Tim Hart, Whoa Mule, William Fitzsimmons and more. Details here

– Our Editor In Chief Gareth Hugh Evans picked his top 25 tracks of 2018 including songs from Cat Canteri, Courtney Marie Andrews, Emma Davis, Fanny Lumsden, Gregory Alan Isakov, Husky, I’m With Her, Imogen Clark, Jack Carty & Gus Gardiner, John Flanagan Trio, Kasey Chambers & The Fireside Disciples, Laura Veirs, Marlon Williams, Missy Higgins, Mustered Courage feat. Mark Gable , Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Paddy McHugh, Sufjan Stevens, The Ahern Brothers, The Decemberists, The Low Anthem, Tim Hart, Whoa Mule, William Fitzsimmons, Willie Watson & Tim Blake Nelson and more. Details here

Releases This Week

Traveling On
Traveling OnThe Decemberists
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

A Celtic Christmas feat. Claymore, Colin Lillie, Saoirse, Hawthorn City Pipe Band, Glenbrae Celtic Dancers

A Celtic Christmas

Saturday 22nd December – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

A Celtic Christmas feat. Claymore, Colin Lillie, Saoirse, Hawthorn City Pipe Band, Glenbrae Celtic Dancers
Saturday 22nd December – Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Adam Young and Sam Shinazzi
Sunday 23rd December – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Alex the Astronaut
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Alice Skye
Friday 28th to Monday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC

Andrew Swift, Gretta Ziller & Brad Cox
Thursday 27th December – Anglesea Family Caravan Park, Anglesea, VIC
Friday 28th December – Ocean Grove Holiday Park, Ocean Grove, VIC

Angus & Julia Stone
Friday 21st December – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD

Ben Leece
Friday 21st December – Transit Bar, Canberra, ACT

Dan Sultan
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Darren Hanlon
Friday 21st December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd December – Church in the Graveyard, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 23rd December – Princess Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Dean Lewis
Friday 21st December – The Metro, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 23rd December – The Metro, Sydney, NSW
Friday 28th December – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Dermot Kennedy w/ Sam Fender
Friday 28th to Monday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC

Emily Wurramara
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Falls Festival
Friday 28th to Monday 31st December – Lorne, VIC

Festival of Small Halls feat. Old Man Luedecke, Lucy Wise
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

First Aid Kit
Friday 28th to Monday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC

Hat Fitz and Cara
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Hussy Hicks
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Irish Mythen
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

James Thomson
Sunday 23rd December – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW

Jen Cloher
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Jess Locke
Friday 21st December – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 22nd December – Reverence Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Julia Jacklin
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Kallidad
Friday 21st December – Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD
Saturday 22nd December – Diggers Tavern, Bellingen, NSW

Karl S Williams
Sunday 23rd December – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Les Poules a Colin
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Liam Gerner
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Lucy Wise
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Magpie Diaries
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Mal Webb & Kylie Morrigan
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Mark Wilkinson
Friday 21st December – Leichhardt Town Hall, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 22nd December – Leichhardt Town Hall, Sydney, NSW

Matt Joe Gow
Friday 21st December – The Gem Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Mel Parsons
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Mic Conway’s National Junk Band
Friday 21st December – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Mick Thomas and The Roving Commission w/ Ayleen O’Hanlon
Saturday 22nd December – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 23rd December – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Monday 24th December – The Caravan Club, Oakleigh, VIC
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Mojo Juju
Friday 21st December – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD

Monique Clare
Friday 21st December – Flow Bar, Old Bar, NSW

Nariel Creek Folk Festival
Thursday 27th December to Thursday 3rdt January – Nariel Creek Recreation Reserve, Nariel Valley, VIC

Neil Murray
Friday 28th December – The Sewing Room, Perth, WA

Old Man Luedecke
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Paddy McHugh
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Paul Kelly – Making Gravy feat. Angus & Julia Stone, Alex Lahey, Mojo Juju
Friday 21st December – Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD

Richard Lawson
Wednesday 26th December – Bermagui Beach Hotel, Bermagui, NSW

Round Mountain Girls
Saturday 22nd December – Cabarita Sports Club, Cabarita Beach, QLD

Sea Shanty Session
Wednesday 26th December – The Brothers, Melbourne, VIC

Southern Gentlemen
Sunday 23rd December – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Sparrow-Folk
Friday 21st December – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Stella Donnelly
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Stiff Gins
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Andy Golledge Band
Saturday 22nd December – Marrickville Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

The Black Sorrows
Saturday 22nd December – Caravan Music Club, Bentleigh East, VIC
Friday 28th December – Bird’s Basement, Melbourne, VIC

The Bushwackers
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Cat Empire
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Little Stevies
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Maes
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Montgomery Brothers
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Northern Folk
Thursday 27 December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

The Spooky Men’s Chorale
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Teskey Brothers
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Waifs
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

The Water Runners
Friday 21st December – Servo Food Truck Bar, Port Kembla, NSW
Friday 28th December – The Sebel Harbourside, Kiama, NSW

Timberwolf
Friday 21st December – Fat Controller, Adelaide, SA

Top End Folk Club Sunday Sessions
Sunday 23rd December – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Vance Joy
Friday 28th to Monday 31st December – Falls Festival, Lorne, VIC

Whiskey Dram
Saturday 22nd December – Bombay Rock, Melbourne, VIC

Woodford Folk Festival
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford, QLD

Xavier Rudd
Thursday 27th December to Tuesday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Fairytale of New York” – Jeff Tweedy, Punch Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, The Staves

Timber and Steel’s Top Albums of 2018

Steeleye Span

Despite a quiet year on the blogging front from Timber and Steel 2018 was still a huge year for folk, roots, singer-songwriter and acoustic music with some amazing albums and EPs dropping throughout the year.

So we couldn’t resist continuing the tradition and once again bring you our top albums of the year.

Emma Davis
1. Emma DavisDemons
When we picked her single “Danger in Me” as our top track of 2017, it was almost a forgone conclusion that Emma Davis’ 2018 follow up album Demons would rank highly in this list.

Davis is one of the most talented lyricists in Australia right now and Demons is testament to her talents.

The singles that Emma Davis has drip fed us throughout the last few years have always had stunning production values and this album ties those earlier songs together seamlessly with her newer material to create 38 minutes of pitch-perfect folk-pop.

Go out and listen to Demons from start to finish right now.

Laura Veirs
2. Laura VeirsThe Lookout
Laura Veirs takes a huge leap forward as a singer and a songwriter with an album that’s more complex than her earlier work without losing sight of everything we’ve always loved about her music.

Hospital Hill
3. Jack Carty & Gus GardinerHospital Hill
The passion project from BFF’s Jack Carty and Gus Gardiner, Hospital Hill perfectly marries Carty’s beautiful songs with the string arrangements they’ve always deserved.

I'm With Her
4. I’m With HerSee You Around
Three of the best Americana singer-songwriters coming together for a collaborative album that manages to feel totally modern while still having its roots firmly in folk.

Courtney Marie Andrews
5. Courtney Marie AndrewsMay Your Kindness Remain
Courtney Marie Andrews is easily the most buzz-worthy Americana artist coming out of the US at the moment and if you listen to May Your Kindness Remain you’ll understand why.

Honest Man
6. John Flanagan TrioHonest Man
The evolution of John Flanagan continues with his trio (plus more) coming together for an album that leads with its lyrics and then knocks you over with the sheer mastery of the musicianship.

Passenger
7. PassengerRunaway
If there’s a year that Passenger releases an album then you can guarantee that’s a year he appears on this list – one of our favourite songwriters.

Evening Machines
8. Gregory Alan IsakovEvening Machines
The long awaited new album from Gregory Alan Isakov lives up to the expectations. Seriously can’t wait to see him when he hits these shores next year.

Johnny Flynn
9. Johnny Flynn & The Sussex WitLive At The Roundhouse
While live albums are not usually our cup of tea, Johnny Flynn has delivered something very special here – a career retrospective with all the “hits”, masterfully arranged with The Sussex Wit. Plus we finally have a recording of all three verses of “Detectorists”

Iron & Wine
10. Iron & WineWeed Garden
A beautiful EP featuring everything you want from Iron & Wine. This one was on repeat for much of this year.

The Low Anthem
11. The Low AnthemThe Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea
We feel like we’ve been waiting for a new album from The Low Anthem for far too long and when The Salt Doll Went To Measure The Depth Of The Sea we were delighted with the result. A stunning, stripped back piece of nu-folk

OCMS
12. Old Crow Medicine ShowVolunteer
OCMS have doubled down on their old time and bluegrass roots with Volunteer which may be one of their best albums to date.

Collide
13. Imogen ClarkCollide
With Collide Imogen Clark has really started to embrace her country, pop and Americana roots without losing her confessional singer-songwriter style.

First Aid Kit
14. First Aid KitRuins
The Swedish sisters have done it again with an album that wears its influences like a badge of honor.

Sam Newton
15. Sam NewtonStare Into The Dark
Sydney’s hardest working singer-songwriter has really delivered with his latest album, leaning in on the full band sound and giving us 11 amazing songs to play over and over again.

Milk Carton Kids
16. The Milk Carton KidsAll The Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn’t Do
The masters of the two part harmony release another gem of an album with All The Things That I Did and All The Things That I Didn’t Do.

William Fitzsimmons
17. William FitzsimmonsMission Bell
Our love for William Fitzsimmons continues to grow with his latest release. Less stripped back than his previous albums, Mission Bell still captures his wistful, ethereal folk sounds.

The Paper Kites
18. The Paper KitesOn The Corner Where You Live
The 80s influences have once again be ramped up on The Paper Kites 2018 album On The Corner Where You Live, but their folk roots are still there to be uncovered.

Marlon Williams
19. Marlon WilliamsMake Way For Love
A big part of me hopes that half the people who saw Marlon Williams’ cameo in A Star Is Born went out and bought Make Way For Love and fell in love with the New Zealand crooner. This man deserves to be a superstar.

Whoa Mule
20. Whoa MuleGet You House In Order
Possibly our favourite bluegrass and old time group in Australia right now. Their musicianship is outstanding and sets the bar very high for the rest of us.

Mustered Courage
21. Mustered CourageWe Played With Fire
The boys make a huge splash on their latest album with some tight bluegrass inspired tunes including a killer collaboration with Fanny Lumsden on “Best Impressions”.

Cas
22. LúnasaCas
There’s a reason that Lúnasa are considered the premiere trad band in the world right now – Cas is a truly a masterpiece.

Campfire
23. Kasey ChambersCampfire
With each album Kasey Chambers is leaning more heavily on the roots and Americana parts of her sound and we love it.

Take Me To Town
24. VariousTake Me To Town: An Australian Alternative Country Compilation
Take Me To Town: An Australian Alternative Country Compilation captures an important point in the Australian Americana and alt-country story, showcasing the quality songwriters and artists who make up the local scene. A must have for anyone who considers themselves a fan of Australian country music.

Tim Hart
25. Tim HartThe Narrow Corner
The long awaited new solo album from Boy & Bear alumni Tim Hart is another lesson in heart-on-sleeve lyrics and understated folk song writing.

Interview: Melody Pool

Melody Pool
Image Courtesy of Melody Pool

Last year after an amazing show with the Milk Carton Kids at the Factory Theatre in Sydney I jumped on top of singer-songwriter Melody Pool, professed my love for her music and promised that one day I would interview her. Now that Melody Pool’s on tour with New Zealand singer Marlon Williams, that promise has come true.

Gareth Hugh Evans: I first saw you at the Gulgong Folk Festival about a year and a half ago. I stumbled upon you completely by accident. I was at the festival really just to see a bunch of bands I already knew. I just happened to walk through one of the venues to get to my hotel, you were playing and I just had to stop and listen. You were amazing.

Melody Pool: Oh thank you!

GHE: I’ve been a massive fan of yours ever since. How’s the last couple of years been? It feels like a bit of a roller coaster.

MP: Totally. It’s all a bit like a weird whirlwind. I always think how weird it must be for people who become famous overnight because I’m not even famous and this has felt like a whirlwind. It’s been awesome and challenging and really difficult at times but amazing for me.

GHE: It kind of feels like it’s been a two year long overnight success. You’ve crammed so much in but everything’s felt really fluid and natural – you released your album independently, got signed to Mushroom and re-released the album through then, toured with the Milk Carton Kids in Australia which led to supporting them through Europe. It all feels like it’s been barrelling along for you at a pretty steady pace.

MP: It all kind of flowed out really nicely. I didn’t feel like I had a million things on the go at once. It was like it was planned, it was weird. It all fell into place. But it was a long time coming I guess, I’ve been playing since I was fourteen. But this past year and a half I feel like there’s been more achieved than in the years before that.

GHE: And you’re still playing songs from The Hurting Scene and promoting that. Are you still happy with that album? Do you still like playing the songs from it? Or do you look back and go “if only I could tweak that!”

MP: I’ve done that with stuff in the past, like EPs, but this one I don’t regret anything from. I’m really proud of it. There’s stuff that I’d probably do differently now with it but it’s a pretty clear representation of where I was at the time and I think I like that it will stay there. That’s me then and the next album will be me in this time. It will just be a natural progression. It’s weird to sing the songs, it feels differently when I sing them now. They’re not quite as close, they’re a bit far away from me now, but they’re kind of nostalgic.

GHE: You’re still enjoying singing them.

MP: Exactly, I love it. It’s just a different emotion.

GHE: I really love your song writing. I really like the way your phrasing works – it doesn’t fit clearly within the melody, instead it slips over the melody if you know what I mean. Everything just flows into each other. Does that mean that you write your lyrics first and then fit the melody around the lyrics?

MP: Yeah, I think so. I always write the melody and lyrics together but I’m very lyrics obsessed. When I write, if it’s a good song, I usually get one line down and then I’ll blurt out the rest and I’ll just sing a melody along with it while I’m scribbling out the lyrics. I don’t know – I guess I do build the melody around the lyrics rather than the lyrics around the melody.

GHE: And the result of the it feels like you’re telling a story. It feels natural.

MP: Exactly. I think it’s actually because I’m not trained musically. I never had guitar lessons, and I only had singing lessons for a bit, maybe a year. I don’t have any kind of music theory really, just really basic stuff.

GHE: And I think that feeds into as well the other thing I really like about your music which is your guitar playing. I think the way you play guitar sounds very skilful, so it’s funny to hear you say you’ve never had a lesson or that you don’t consider yourself a technical musician. You’re not just strumming chords or finger-picking – your building a countermelody on the guitar and it really compliments your singing.

MP: Yeah, I do try and make little licks up. I only learnt that because I loved Joni Mitchell and would just go on Youtube and watch her play guitar. People would comment “what tuning is this in” and someone would comment back with the tuning and I’d just tune my guitar to it and watch where her fingers went. That’s kind of where I learnt that side of guitar playing.

GHE: There’s always been plenty of Joni Mitchell comparisons with you or I read how much of an influence Joni Mitchell has been on you. I think the first time I saw you you did a cover of “Big Yellow Taxi”.

MP: I agree, I think it’s pretty obvious. She’s like my queen, I love her. And I think it’s important to have people to look up to and to strive towards. Not to be like her but to feel like you’re constantly striving towards something that’s great.

GHE: And I think someone like Joni Mitchell has always bucked convention when it comes to being placed in a category or a genre.

MP: Absolutely.

GHE: People refer to her as a folk singer but she’s also a pop singer, and she’s also been a jazz singer. I don’t know if you can define Joni Mitchell. And I feel like there’s an element of that in your music as well. When I was first explored your music a lot of what I read about you referred to you as a country artist, and while I think country is definitely part of your music there’s so much more than that. I don’t think I would call you a country artist.

MP: I don’t call myself a country artist either. Obviously it’s my roots. I still get it a lot, I still get the country singer, but I don’t see it myself. I just don’t think I write country songs really. The countriest I think has been “Substitute” maybe.

GHE: You do write sad songs though so maybe that’s part of it!

MP: [laughs]

GHE: And you’ve been part of the country scene as well. Isn’t your Dad [Alby Pool] part of the country scene?

MP: Yeah, I think I got the label because I grew up in it, through my Dad and through playing with Lachlan Bryan in his band – I played in The Wildes for a while – and in Kirtsy Akers’ band.

GHE: And I think you also fit very well into the folk scene and you’d fit very well into the indie scene as well. I don’t think it’s easy to pigeonhole your music but you do have a lot of the elements from each of those different areas.

MP: Yeah, I’d probably lean towards those more if I had to pick a genre.

GHE: Going back to the Milk Carton Kids. I went and saw them last year when you supported them and it was one of the funniest shows I’d ever been to. I had no idea about their between song banter! And then just after that you got announced as their support on their European tour. How was that? Being taken away to Europe like that?

MP: It was awesome. I learnt a lot from them. It was a pretty crazy experience – I think I was just very humbled to have been asked by them to go with them. I have wanted to tour their for ages and it was kind of the perfect fit for me because their audience is perfect for my music – they’re listeners, they’re attentive and they’re also really responsive. It was pretty special for me.

GHE: I would go and see them again just for the banter.

MP: It’s funny because they’re just like that all the time. We traveled in a van with them the whole time throughout Europe and you had to tell them to stop bickering at times [laughs]. They were really hilarious, it was a lot of fun.

GHE: You’ve done a bit of touring in Australia since you’ve been back and now your out on the road with Marlon Williams.

MP: Yeah.

GHE: I knew nothing about Marlon Williams until I saw him play at my local pub one night and I was just blown away. He sounds like early Roy Oberson or early Elvis Presley.

MP: He’s amazing.

GHE: I think I posted on Twitter that this is the tour I’m most excited about seeing this year. Seeing the two of your together is going to be amazing. And I’m glad you put those videos online as well where you’re playing each other’s songs – those were really special.

MP: That was so fun.

GHE: How did you hook up with Marlon?

MP: I didn’t really know him but I’ve known his manager for a while and we ended up doing a show together in March with Chris Coleman. I got along really well with Marlon and Alistair, his manager, brought up the prospect of doing a tour together and I thought that would be cool. We both really liked each other’s music and were really keen for the tour. We were doing these videos so we learnt each other’s songs and sang them together and realised how well we gelled musically and how cool the tour was actually going to be.

GHE: It’s a co-headline tour, isn’t it?

MP: Yeah so we’re going to switch back and forth every night of who’s going to open and who’s going to close the show.

GHE: And you’ve got hundreds of dates.

MP: It’s a solid two months I think. Full on!

GHE: What happens after the tour? What’s the next step in the road for you?

MP: I’m currently writing my next album. I’m almost finished it – I think I have one song to go. I’m going to America in September again for Americana Fest and then I think my goal is to gte the second album recorded by the end of this year to be released next year.

GHE: That’s very exciting. Are we seeing any of the new material live?

MP: Yes. I’ve been playing it a bit. That’s the only way I know a good song is a good song is if I see an audience reaction to it. So I’ve been playing a few at shows recently.

GHE: Well that’s all I have today. That you so much for that Melody, I really appreciate it.

MP: No worries – it’s nice having a chat!

Melody Pool and Marlon Williams are currently on tour around Australia. The remaining list of dates are below:

Wednesday 6th August – Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Thursday 7th August – Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 8th August – St Martin’s Parish Hall, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 9th August – No. 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Sunday 10th August – Lizotte’s, Central Coast, NSW
Tuesday 12th August – The Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 14th August – Ararat Hotel, Ararat, VIC
Friday 15th August – Harvester Moon, Bellarine, VIC
Saturday 16th August – Baby Black Café, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Sunday 17th August – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Saturday 23rd August – X-Wray Café, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 24th August – Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Tuesday 26th August – Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA

Review: The Ash & Clay by Milk Carton Kids

Image courtesy of Milk Carton Kids

The Ash & Clay is the third album from Californian duo the Milk Carton Kids, but the first to catch our attention here at Timber & Steel. The album has been somewhat of a breakthrough for Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, whose close two-part vocal harmony and acoustic picking style has been met with comments and critiques ranging from”inspired and sublime” to “derivative and gimmicky”. Obvious comparisons are made of their careful, gentle contemporary folk sound with the likes of Simon and Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers. Such comparisons are useful and accurate in a descriptive sense, but also stifling and reductive to the level of recognition deserved of the band’s creativity, imaginativeness and craft.

Throughout most of the songs on The Ash & Clay, Pattengale and Ryan sing together and also accompany each other on guitars, picking over the top of each other with intricate licks. The affect of this is instrumentally decorative and driving. It also allows for much stylistic variation throughout, with songs on the album like “Honey, Honey” and “Heaven” being washed with traditional American country and bluegrass, old-timey ballads like “Snake Eyes” (an album highlight for me), a range of sparse and moving nu-folk tunes and a number of tracks reflective of that nostalgic, New-York-in-autumn sound such as the opener “Hope of a Lifetime”, title track “Ash & Clay” and “The Jewell of June”.

I think the reason that this album hasn’t been met with unanimous acclaim is that it’s so easy to chalk timelessness down as imitativeness when it stands so close to something that’s also timeless. Personally, this album is very exciting to me because it’s quite rare to discover new music with the power to continually provide me with the cathartic, transcendent  release that I jones for, and that’s how I define it as timeless- knowing that I’ll be able to pull the dusty record off the shelf when I’m wrinkled and retired and it will give me that same feeling.

The Milk Carton Kids have their two previous albums Prologue and Retrospect available for free download on their website and will be touring Australia this coming June 2013.

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