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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

ROUTES & BRANCHES
featuring the very best of americana, alt.country and roots music
October 26, 2013
Scott Foley

When we talk about "seasonal music" we usually mean Christmas songs.  I would argue, however, that there is music appropriate for other seasons, too.  Spinning most Beach Boys tracks just feels out of place in the snow.  My favorite season is fall, sneaking stealthily away from summer.  To me, fall means introspection, mortality, dark and reverence.  Tony Dekker's debut solo album, Prayer of the Woods wouldn't be great music to play during a beach party.  While his daygroup, Great Lake Swimmers, have lately been inching from their autumnal beginnings, Dekker's new music returns to these cold, dark lands.  "February says this is all you get / Do something with it" he sings in "On My Way Back", his voice an intimate echo.  These are songs about retreating into the forests, letting winter have its way.  We're not quite dashing through the snow, rather we're stopping at a remote roadside station, "the smell of gasoline / from the handle and the cap".  Dekker plays nearly every instrument (including great seasonal representatives as pump organ, autoharp and mellotron) on a collection of originals, save a cover each from fellow Canadian Gordon Lightfoot and the decidedly un-seasonal Human Sexual Response.  With a spare few weeks of true summer, I suppose much Canadian music carries this sort of fall musk:  Think Deep Dark Woods, Elliott BROOD. I've listened to Tony Dekker's stirring "Talking In Your Sleep" a number of times since receiving the record, wrapped comfortably in the fuzzy imagery and enigma: 

And all of those organs play out
One by one, ils disent, ‘bonne nuit’
Slight whispers in the giant bellows sighing
‘Uh-huh, I’m only a lung’

Some nights are better than others though
And some nights you never know
You really got me with that one, though
Your sleepy hinges swinging, a cat’s paw



*  Lucinda Williams, "Six Blocks Away"  Sweet Old World  (Elektra, 92)
*  Amanda Shires, "Wasted and Rollin'"  Down Fell the Doves  (Lightning Rod, 13)
*  Rusty Truck, "Cracker Jack Sunday"  Kicker Town  (Crosseyed, 13)
*  Will Hoge, "Home is Where the Heart is Broken"  Never Give In  (Cumberland, 13)
*  Arliss Nancy, "Vonnegut"  Wild American Runners  (Black Numbers, 13)  C
*  Old 97s, "Won't Be Home (live)"  Alive and Wired  (New West, 05)
*  Willie Nelson w/Secret Sisters, "It Won't Be Very Long"  To All the Girls  (Columbia, 13)
*  Secret Sisters, "Why Don't You Love Me"  Secret Sisters  (Beladroit, 10)
*  Harmed Brothers, "Sky Cracked a Smile"  Better Days  (Fluff & Gravy, 13) D
*  Avett Brothers, "Clearness is Gone"  Magpie & the Dandelion  (American, 13)
*  Casey James Prestwood, "Out of Beer"  Honky Tonk Bastard World  (Self, 13)  C
*  Possessed By Paul James, "38 Year Old Cocktail Waitress"  There Will Be Nights When I'm Lonely  (Hillgrass Bluebilly, 13)
*  Todd Snider, "Rose City"  New Connection  (Oh Boy, 02)
*  Emily Barker & Red Clay Halo, "Ghost Narrative"  Dear River  (Linn, 13)
*  Big Casino, "Take You For a Ride"  Alligator Gasoline  (Self, 13)  D
*  Deep Dark Woods, "Miles and Miles"  Jubilee  (Sugar Hill, 13)
*  I Can Lick Any SOB In the House, "Montana"  Sounds of Dying  (Suburban Home, 10)
*  Patti Fiasco, "Losing Game"  Small Town Lights  (Self, 13)  C
*  Yarn, "Lay Down Your Lovin' Heart"  Shine the Light On  (Self, 13)
*  Howe Gelb, "Left of Center"  The Coincidentalist  (New West, 13)  D
*  Fifth On the Floor, "Burnin' Nashville Down"  Ashes & Angels  (Self, 13)
^  Tony Dekker, "Talking In Your Sleep"  Prayer of the Woods  (Nettwerk, 13)
*  Jimmy LaFave, "Buffalo Return To the Plains"  Buffalo Return To the Plains  (Bohemia Beat, 95)
*  Lindi Ortega, "I Want You"  Tin Star  (Last Gang, 13)
*  DB Rielly, "Turn the Page"  Cross My Heart + Hope To Die  (Shut Up & Play!  13)  D
*  Pete Stein, "Leavin' Kind"  Sleeping Giants  (Self, 13)  C,D
*  Israel Nash Gripka, "Who In Time"  Israel Nash's Rain Plans  (Loose, 13)
*  Bobby Bare Jr, "I'll Be Around"  Young Criminal's Starvation League  (Bloodshot, 02)
*  Paul Burch, "Couldn't Get a Witness"  Fevers  (Plowboy, 13)  D

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