The Black Twig Pickers are back with a new album titled ‘Rough carpenters‘, their first album since their 2010 release Ironto Special. There are also some changes to the line-up with the addition of fiddle player Sally Anne Morgan to the trio of Mike Gangloff, Isak Howell, and Nathan Bowles. Her entrance to the band has been positive in more ways then one as dance has become a more prominent part of their performance…and that’s always a good thing!
There is no denying the progressive force at play behind The Black Twig Pickers, from their many collaborations with the likes of folk heavyweights Charlie Parr, Glenn Jones and the late Jack Rose to the new ground they continue to forge. Rough Carpenters continues on that forward facing path which has placed them in the unique position of being able to straddle and be accepted within traditional and primitive experimental fields. You only need to look at the side projects such as Pelt featuring Mike Gangloff and Nathan Bowles who join Patrick Best and Mikel Dimmick with their own unique brand of Appalachian drone to appreciate how diverse their influences and practices are. Pelt recently released their album Effigy, the first since the tragic loss of guitarist Jack Rose in 2009 who was also a member.
The name Rough Carpenters sums them up well, not just for their raw live recordings which took place over a two day session for this album but also their outside influences which weave through their primarily South west Virginia traditions. The fiddle and banjo sticks give a primitive feel to the likes of ‘Little Rose‘, a tune from West Virginia on which mouth harp and fiddle sound idiosyncratic and spontaneous. These moments contrast well against the likes of Banks of the Arkansas, a Kentucky tune that will find your feet quick enough. Joseph Dejarnette also guests on bass making a fine performance on Jack of Diamonds, a hollerin’ number about drinking and gambling.
The album has a seamless energy throughout, you cannot mistake the territory of The Black Twig Pickers, once you’re hear it you won’t want to leave their mountain music. It celebrates an individualism that is rooted deeply in the land and people…from the panhandle to the coalfields, it’s a joyful independence, one that encourages spontaneity. All those small nuances go to make up the unique whole…that’s where this music shines…you can’t copy it…you got to live it! As Gangloff explains, “It’s not the melody, it’s the moss.”
This is a bountiful and rewarding release from The Black Twig Pickers and if you haven’t experienced them yet then you really are missing out on something very special.
Free Track: The Black Twig Pickers – Rough Carpenters
01. Blind Man’s Lament
02. Rough Carpenters
03. Little Rose
04. Banks of the Arkansas
05. Elkhorn Ridge
06. The Poplar Pole
07. Where the Whippoorwills are Whispering Goodnight
08. You Play the High Card and I’ll Play the Ace
09. Old Christmas Morning
10. Roll on John
11. Jack of Diamonds
12. Charleston Girls
13. Sift the Meal and Save the Bran
14. I Can’t Stay Here By Myself
Rough Carpenters will be released via Thrill Jockey on February 19, 2013.
CD version includes a 4 page booklet with history and tunings of each song and is packaged in a mini-LP style gatefold package custom printed on chipboard stock at Stumptown Printers.
LP version includes an inner sleeve with history and tunings on each song and a free download coupon