Thursday, May 14, 2009

Recommended Artist: Auld Lang Syne

I was fortunate enough to be introduced recently to the music of Auld Lang Syne, so now I'm passing the good word on to you because this is a group people should know (and love). The New York-based band is comprised of Timothy Dick, Mike Bushen, Joe Bushen, Jonathan Miller, Tim Gallogly, and Dick's wife, Kathy, and though they just recently released their first album, the music speaks of a much higher level of maturity and depth than you'd typically find on a debut. The album, entitled Midnight Folly, is an earthy folk-rock record filled with emotion and darkly beautiful lyrics that cut right to the soul. The songs are heavy with heartbreak and sorrow, and the music slowly paced, but the whole experience is full of a musical intensity that is absolutely captivating, making for one of my favorite folk albums of the year thus far.

Through the nine songs of Midnight Folly, a variety of styles and approaches are presented, yet everything feels cohesive and connected. Opener "Long Ago" is a gritty rock number, featuring low, growled vocals sounding something like a combination of Nick Cave and Jim Morrison, while personal favorites "My First Soul" and "Where My Fortune Lies" are weary, yet somehow uplifting folk ballads. The group also throws some twang into the mix with "Four Rivers" and "Rusty Prayer," two lonesome cuts that channel the feeling and energy missing from so much of modern country music. Throughout the album, the band consistently hit the mark with the instrumentation; plenty of guitars, piano, harmonica, accordion, and the occasional string arrangement keep the often lengthy tunes from becoming too tired or samey. The real focus here, though, is the songwriting, which is remarkably compelling in its downtrodden, world-weary way.

Auld Lang Syne definitely deserve your attention, so check out the band on MySpace to hear a good chunk of the new record and also head over here to read a brief interview with the band.