Mailbag: Delta Rae: “Bottom of the River”

Delta Rae is a North Carolina band with four lead singers, and a whole mess of harmonies.  Their sound fuses Americana, Blues, Gospel, and Rock, and it comes at you like a freight train.  In their new, Halloween-friendly single, “Bottom of the River” (video and free download below), the band creates an enormous sound that combines layered harmonies and driving, bodily percussion.  The result is an earthy track that feels, fittingly enough, like a spell being cast.

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Mailbag: Elisa Flynn – 19th Century Songs

Before beginning, I have to confess that I have been criminally negligent with Elisa Flynn’s 19th Century Songs.  Elisa e-mailed me a rather long time ago to tell me about the album’s release on Bandcamp, and – despite my thorough enjoyment of the album – I always seemed to forget I had it when I sat down to throw together a post.  And so, for that, I’m sorry!

But I am also sorry to you, reader, for keeping such an exciting recording all to myself!  Here’s the scoop:

Elisa Flynn is a singer-songwriter from Brooklyn who writes songs that walk a fine line between beauty and danger.  They treat on topics like the serial killer Dr. H.H. Holmes, William Tecumseh Sherman, and a ship held fast in the ice.  It’s an impressive collection of concepts and images that all, rather surprisingly, create a wonderfully immersive recording.  Let’s have a look:

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Mailbag: Fax Holiday – Rope & Wine

Fax Holiday is the recording/performing name of Eric Schermerhorn (formerly of Mutt and Margin Walker), and it is also the name of a Boston-based indie/folk band containing Schermerhorn (vocals, guitars, autoharp), Ian Macleod (bass, vocals), Elizabeth Bollenberg (violin, harp), and Dana Diplacido (percussion).  Importantly, it is also the name of one of my favorite bands of the last few months.  Their new album – Rope & Wine – is a solid musical effort – combining indie-rock numbers like “Dropping Out” with more introspective, folk-inspired tunes like “Salt.”  Regardless of presentation, each song feels as if it is rooted in something that is deeply personal – coming to the listener as if from a diary entry.  It’s a combination that comes up a lot in these parts (you might be familiar with a similar formula as seen in the work of Galaxie 500), and produces an amazingly vibrant emotional tapestry.

Also, it rocks.  Did I mention that it rocks?

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Mailbag: Caleb Coy – Wild Desert Rose

The good folks over at Yer Bird Records sent me a copy of Caleb Coy‘s Wild Desert Rose, and I’m so glad that they did.  This gem of a country record positively crackles with an old-time earnestness that simply cannot be ignored.  It’s just a man, a guitar, and a life slowly unwound through his unfussy, soulful tunes.  Here’s how the folks at Yer Bird describe it:

Texas born and southern bred, Caleb Coy writes songs woven from the backwoods tapestry of his drifting ways. Channeling the eloquence and magic of such legendary songwriters as Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley and Kris Kristofferson, his songs paint pictures of the open road.

If you close your eyes you can almost see the redtail circling high above and smell the campfire and whiskey amidst the pines. From an old airstream in the high desert of far West Texas and the ancient cliff dwellings of the Gila Wilderness to the south fork of the Yuba River, the American countryside has been his muse and true love for the last five years.

Though the heyday of the hard living troubadour has come and gone, Caleb Coy reminds us that the outlaw spirit is alive and well… and still on the run.

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Mailbag: The Chapin Sisters

The Chapin Sisters are an L.A. band that you might have caught opening for She & Him (they’re also part of the backing band) this year.  They recorded their debut album – Lake Bottom LP – with their sister, Jessica Craven, but the band is now comprised of Abigail and Lily Chapin.  As others have said, their sound is reminiscent of both the country and motown – of long-forgotten harmonies in gaslit cabins, and of doe-eyed variety singers.  Yet, beyond this is a sophistication of craft, and an intricacy of sound, that is positively captivating. And really, I ought to let their sound speak for itself…

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