Friday, October 23, 2009

Blind Pilot / The Low Anthem @ Plush Sunday

Probably more than any other area of the broader indie music world, folk has lost its boundaries, been shifted and recontextualized, and parceled out again in even stranger-termed sub-genres. Nobody in particular has directed this expansive redefinition, it's simply that practitioners of acoustic music themselves have reached broader, in terms of instrumentation, lyrical themes and the ways in which the bands and artists reach and interact with their audience.

But the core element of the various records that have found their way to my ears is simple: it's too damn good to ignore.

Portland's Blind Pilot and The Low Anthem, from Rhode Island - two excellent examples of this contemporary take on folk music arrive - in Tucson together, for a show Sunday at Plush.

I found Blind Pilot from Mr. Chair, who threw "One Red Thread" on a mix he passed my way a few months ago. I've been listening to Blind Pilot a lot at night, usually pretty late, and I think that in itself is a pretty good description of the band's sound.Originally a duo, the band has expanded to a six-person touring ensemble, which gives their calming and introspective music a wonderful fullness live.

I missed Blind Pilot's last Tucson show when I had the flu, but I caught them at the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco in August and if they can top the short festival set tomorrow night, I'll be thrilled.

I'm newer to the Low Anthem, but the fact that the band's self-released 2008 album, Oh My God Charlie Darwin, was picked up and rereleased this year by Nonesuch had me sold. The album starts with spooky falsetto on "Charlie Darwin," but elsewhere the songs are rollicking. Sign up for the band's email list and snag and excellent cover of Dylan's "Dignity."

And I'm not sure whether the band knows it, but the Low Anthem comes with the Billy Bragg seal of approval. When I interviewed Bragg last month for a story on San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, we talked about how festivals are great for finding new bands, how previously unheard music can absolutely capture you in such a setting. And Bragg said that when he played Newport over the summer, he was impressed by the Low Anthem. So there you go.

The Low Anthem - Charlie Darwin
Blind Pilot - Buried a Bone (Live Laundromatinee session)
Blind Pilot - One Red Thread (Live Laundromatinee session)
Blind Pilot - Two Towns From Me (Live Laundromatinee session)

Blind Pilot / The Low Anthem Tour:

10/25/09. Tucson, AZ – Plush
10/27/09. Houston, TX – Bronze Peacock at HOB
10/28/09. Dallas, TX – Granada Theater
10/29/09. Austin, TX – The Parish
10/30/09. Baton Rouge, LA – Spanish Moon
11/02/09. Tallahassee, FL – Club Downunder
11/03/09. Orlando, FL – The Social
11/04/09. Atlanta, GA – The Earl
11/05/09. Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
11/06/09. Asheville, NC – University of North Carolina
11/07/09. Norfolk, VA – Attucks Theater
11/09/09. Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle
11/11/09. Washington, D.C. – The Black Cat
11/12/09. Boston, MA – Paradise

1 comment:

Dudley Saunders. said...

Wow, somebody finally said it! Yeah, folk has quietly turned into the most emotionally adventurous music out there - and maybe because nobody was expecting it. But as "folks" change, "folk" would reflect it, right?