The Black Twig Pickers - Rough Carpenters (4 stars)

Old-timey music filtered through the American primitive aesthetic

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The Black Twig Pickers - Rough Carpenters

(Thrill Jockey)

Rough Carpenters, the latest transmission from Appalachian coterie The Black Twig Pickers, is aptly named. Well-crafted, but not too finely finished, the album has an appealingly homemade quality, as if it’s been recorded in some funky old barn while the moonshine is passed around. This is old-timey music from the members' Virginia and Kentucky homesteads, filtered through the American primitive aesthetic of John Fahey and the ecstatic avant-garde vision of the Millennial free-folk scene.

Fiddler Mike Gangloff and banjo player Nathan Bowles are also members of drone mavens Pelt, and their sensitivity to texture and tone, not to mention openness to spontaneity, informs the Pickers’ scratchin’, whoopin’ and a-pluckin’: check the bent notes and raga-like microtonalities Gangloff and fellow bow-wielder Sally Anne Morgan weave into their sackcloth tapestries. Recorded live, these tracks possess a rare energy and magic, where the imperfections in pitch and rhythm only add to the otherworldly atmosphere.

Black Twig Pickers -- Rough Carpenters

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