It’s rare that a cd which lands across my desk gets me excited. I’m the first to admit that music is not my strong suit when it comes to the arts. I usually defer to the excellent taste of my colleague Chris Roberts.
But I have to admit that when The Pines new cd “tremolo” slipped out of a padded envelope, I immediately smiled. I thoroughly enjoyed their first album “Sparrows in the Bell,” with it’s lonesome midwest pioneer feel and haunting vocals (“Throw me in the River” is a favorite track of mine).
“tremolo” is no disappointment. If anything it goes deeper than their first album, exploring a greater range of nuanced emotions with confidence. This is the kind of music that makes me want to get in a beat-up car and go on a trip across the midwest, taking back roads. It’s both nostalgic for another time and yet completely of today. “Lonesome Tremolo Blues” stands out with its driven rhythms, as well as the sad but sunny “Skipper and His Wife” (a re-adaptation of the song by Spider John Koerner). Like Nick Drake, The Pines make melancholy a delicious and beautiful thing.
I showed the cd cover to Chris Roberts, who’s just back from vacation. His response? “Well, there’s my next story, don’t you think?” You can look forward to his treatment of “tremolo” on MPR’s airwaves sometime soon.