Fern Girl and Ice Man – The Lowest Pair (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

tl-94-ferngirlandicemanBanjos get a hard time generally, especially over on this side of the water where they aren’t a part of the collective musical heritage as it is Stateside. But right from the opening salvo of The River Will, you quickly realise that its sultry and sparing use, coupled with the twin vocals of Kendl Winter and Palmer T Lee are being used to create something truly magical. As the dominant instrument, it gently guides rather that drives the music, entwining with guitars or violins in just the same sensuous way that the voices above it do.

 

And whilst a concise approach, can often lead to sparseness in the music or bleak atmospherics, in the hands of these seasoned players the result is rather one of a shimmering sweetness, of warmth, of light. The fact that there is not be a superfluous note or unnecessary syllable means that these simple musical shapes and songlines are close to perfect. It conjures dust motes dancing on sunlight streaming through the window, of endless summers and lakeside parties, of nighttime fires and a world seen through a sepia instagram filter.

 

In the same way that The Band turned their back on the musical fashion of their day to explore the musical heritage of America’s past, so The Lowest Pair seem inspired to follow a similar journey. But far from just a plundering of times long gone, this is also a reinvention, a re-appreciation, a modern celebration of traditions and the perfect way of taking the past by the hand and leading it into the future.

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About Dave Franklin

Musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, blogger, quantum spanner, left footed traveller, music journalist, zenarchist, freelance writer, reviewer and gemini. People have woken up to worse.
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