Steve Gunn & The Black Twig Pickers
With a history of crossover between the worlds of traditional folk and its more experimental cousins, The Black Twig pickers have remained at the forefront of some of the most inventively spiritual music for the better part of the last decade. They've found solace in collaboration, as one might expect a group versed in the kind of folk inspired by impromptu gatherings and off-the-cuff jamming might well find. On record their cohorts have included Jack Rose, Glenn Jones, Charlie Parr and more recently Steve Gunn, whose haunted style of folk seems to melt right into their Appalachian canon. The two collaborated briefly for a 7" in 2013 and they've expanded that partnership into a rambling, darkly knotted album that's steeped in those same backporch session vibes but equally immersed in the thrumming, meditative buzz of ragas, as exemplified by the title cut's sidelong workout. Seasonal Hire works well as a companion piece to the Twig Pickers album with Jack Rose, exploring similar territory and working just as well to elevate the game of both collaborators. It's humble in its approach but the results feel much grander than just a few friends sitting down picking folk. In 2015, an album caked with this much road dust driven by air that feels clean in the lungs seems more like a gauntlet thrown down to standard fair, a return to roots for your own good.
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