New Releases - Quick takes
Bob Weir - Blue Mountain
Bob Weir returns to his roots, after a fashion, in his new
solo effort. The Grateful Dead veteran, who spent part of his youth as a Wyoming ranch hand, draws on that
experience in this collection of new material. With the American West as the primary motif, we’re taken from river
crossings to campfires to ghost towns in scenes overlaid with regret, loss, and
yearning. Along the way, I was delighted
to hear homages to traditional folk standards such as Shenandoah (Only a River) and Darling
Cory (Lay My Lily Down). The maturity of Weir's vocals works well with this material, providing added depth and character. Blue
Mountain is well worth a listen.
Bow Thayer - The Source and the Servant
Efforts to define Bow Thayer’s music range from “progressive Americana” to
“psychedelic folk.” His latest album
will challenge those labels even further.
On The Source and the Servant,
Thayer is in pure traditionalist form, paying tribute to his blues heroes, Dock
Boggs and Mississippi Fred McDowell. New
lyrics and arrangements put Thayer’s distinctive mark on most tracks, but
credit the head-turning sonic qualities to a device of Thayer’s invention – the
Bojotar – described as a banjo, resonator guitar, and traditional guitar, all
in one. This is a stripped-down
production that won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re a fan of authentic
Appalachian and Delta blues, check out Bow Thayer.