Thursday, September 3, 2009

Pinebox Serenade - 2007 - Let the River Take Them Home

 2007 - Let The River Take Them Home

Pinebox Serenade are seven Texans who are somehow connected to Devil's Ruin Records, a musical label operating in Leo, Indiana. I think there's an underground railroad for wayward musicians, but my sources haven't been able to bring me any concrete proof. Yet. Anyway, Pinebox are showering the world with love in their second full-length album, Let The River Take Them Home, hereafter referred to as LTRTTH, or LeatherTooth for short. Contained within the microscopic pits of the silvery platter are 12 old-timey songs that are dark and organic. "Gothic Americana" they call it.
To make their own special "Gothic Americana" moonshine Pinebox Serenade start with traditional folk instruments like an acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, accordion, lap-steel and ciddle (a cello in the field-roughened hands of a folk musician). Then they play original mountain music and bluegrassy dirges and smoky campfire songs, music that is formed from the dirt of despair, songs of love and rejection, life and death, daily pleasures and hourly pains.

The songs are surprisingly sophisticated without betraying their rural origins. The instrumental "Sons of Soil" begins with a mournful accordion that weeps into a dark lamentation that will leave a hollow ache in your chest. "The Plains" is hypnotic shoegazer folk full of eerie sounds and droning woodwinds and is driven painfully home by a perfect and passionate performance. If it's a mandolin solo you want, look no further than "The Faithful", an uncharacteristically upbeat song where the upright bass and fiddle form an unbeatable alliance. "Isabelle" soberly finds that "Midnight is a mask that covers me" leading to the rowdy Celtic romp "The Lash", where angry and aggressive vocals pelt the listener with missives of "Who wants to live to a ripe old age?" I can't help but thinking that our own Lee Miles would enjoy this band.

Folks, you just don't get music like that created by Pinebox Serenade from the radio. You can't churn it out according to a computer-generated formula. No, you've got to live a rough life (or at least read a lot about people living rough lives) and then use your music to work through the pain. But for such a sorrowful album, Let The River Take Them Home, er, LeatherTooth is a joy for the ears and the soul. (Jason Hoffman)

Jason Hoffman - WhatzUp Magazine

 Track Listing:

1. Woven Arms
2. Neches River
3. Isabelle
4. Bottle and Rusty Blade
5. The Plains
6. Too Cold to Snow
7. The Faithful
8. Forgiveness
9. Sons of Soil
10. Darkness Falls
11. Witch on the Mountain
12. The Lash


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