Humble Tripe – The Beginning
Independent – 5 May 2017
American duo Humble Tripe’s third album, The Beginning, revisits its back catalogue and introduces new songs, in a setting of musically rich, yet stripped-back, acoustic orchestral folk music.
Humble Tripe is North Carolina-based Shawn Luby (vocals and guitar) and Boston-based Stud Green (violin and vocals), both are classically trained musicians. The album has it origins in a week that Luby and Green spent in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, after receiving an artist in residency grant from the Wild Acres Retreat Center in Little Switzerland, North Carolina. Whilst the duo came together in 2009 this was their first opportunity to come together and create, off of the road. All the recordings are live, unplugged and unedited.
Four of the songs come from Humble Tripe’s acclaimed first album, Counting Stars (2010) – Washington, Wish You Well, Alice and Old Time Friend. Another four songs come from Humble Tripe’s acclaimed second album, The Giving (2013) – November, The Giving, South Capri and Oh Lord.
The album opens with Luby’s simple guitar introduction to Wish You Well, a song of reflection, with Luby soon joined by Green’s mournful violin. Then follows the musically beautiful and lyrically poetic, The Giving (“Tied up twisted, broke all apart…Too tired to listen, too hungry to fight”).
The sensual Washington, performed as a vocal duet, receives the additional depth of feeling from their violin and guitar accompaniment.
The two new songs on the album are The Architect, which is both a love song and a song of determination and resilience, and Little Song, which is an offering of hope.
In South Capri, Stud Green’s violin (and later vocals) harmonise with Luby’s voice, in a breakup story, full of geographic imagery. Old Time Friend is also a song of heartbreak and seems to reach out a hand of compassion and companionship to the broken-hearted.
Closing the album is, Oh Lord, a song underlain by an almost spiritual feeling:
Yes even if the lights go out tonight
well you see such a sight I know
Arms stretched and stars line up to meet you
They shelter you wherever you go
Humble Tripe’s The Beginning is musically and emotionally rich and its lyrically poetic songs juxtapose vulnerability and hope. The acoustic backdrop breathes new life into the older songs and gives a familiarity to the new songs. In these troubled times, Humble Tripe’s The Beginning provides a most welcome sense of kindness, warmth and understanding.
Order it via Bandcamp here.
Photo Credit: Eric Waters