This has to be one of the coolest and unique albums I’ve come across in a long time, odd title aside. I say this on the basis of true musicianship and understanding of just what two guys can do with an acoustic and a little bit of percussion. The mix is poor, mic location is off, the all around recording leaves some to be desired, but I just didn’t care. It’s one of those novelty traits where the sound can’t help but feel good with a little imperfection…or a lot.
Whether the songs are gold or not, the listener is taken on a long- winded, yet short-tracked experience full of spoken words, little stories, slow burning “round the fire” songs and pagan-like hymnals that would find great homes in the forest. It’s a varied group of musical content that jumps between the reclusive stories of something out of The Waterboys meets Willie Nelson and unabashed silly wit, see titles “Fishy Wishy” and “Whoop-dee-doo.”
This group is dynamic by design with 72-year-old Dwain Story rattling off and doing his best contributions as tenor, while 32-year-old Aaron Cooper strums the guitar and most likely enjoys the show closing his eyes in simple enjoyment one minute and choking back laughter the next. At least, that was me. These singer/songwriters both find solace in their shared personal struggles.
Suffice it to say their conditions make an appearance from time to time, notably on “Talking Alcohol Blues” where Story just kicks back a slightly maniacal chuckle as the song fades. The way he enters with it right after the lyric is off-putting to say the least. And yet, don’t get lost in the woods listeners. The next track just might be your favorite. “It Was Neither” moves in medium dance tempo and plays around with a very basic application of more recent Beach Boys. You’ll be hooked once you hear “Who wrote the Iliad, who wrote the Odyssey?” Best moment of the album quite possibly. The harmonies shared in that moment are marked with just the right amount of strain and contrast thanks to the simple fact that Story’s voice is this thinning fragile descant, passionate and scratchy. Let it ease your mind in the morning hours over a cup of coffee and good whiskey.
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