The Pines: Tremolo (Red House/Ode)

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The Pines: Heart and Bones
The Pines: Tremolo (Red House/Ode)

Quite why the Pines -- who are Branson, the son of the legendary singer-songwriter Bo Ramsey, and David Huckfelt -- didn't get more alt.country/indie.rock traction with their excellent Sparrows in the Bell album was a mystery to me.

Maybe the father association put people off in that Lennon-kids way? 

To me they sounded like a bridge between cryptic Seventies Dylan and alt.counry/folk blues world of Bonnie Prince Billy/Bill Callahan/the Felice Brothers et al.

That good opinion is confirmed by this low-key but crafted album which keeps the guitars low, the roots rhythms lightly rocking and the vocals intelligent and in your ear.

Their cover of Spider John Koener's Skipper and His Wife is so understarted and hypnotic you can't help but be drawn in.

But their original material -- again this is co-produced by Bo who contributes stellar guitar also -- has a musical and emotional clarity which is rare in this world: Spike Driver Blues possesses an urgency which belies its smooth surface and refers back to John Henry, that steel driving man; yet  Behind the Time which follows is one of those songs which suggests flawed but honest love -- and that's hard to resist if you've eventually become an adult through similarly redemptive relationships.

Or maybe it's not about that at all -- and that too is their gift.

Said it before, will say it again: the Pines sound convincingly wise beyond their years.

Exceptional. 

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Tim - Nov 20, 2009

Thanks for highlighting this one Graham. Heart and Bones is an immediate absolute cracker and there are several others that insinuate with each listening. Thanks.

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