The Upshot: Featuring a guest spot by late Native American poet-rocker John Trudell, it’s one of the young year’s most haunting and beguiling albums to date.
BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
It would be hard to imagine an album more haunting and beguiling than this fifth opus by the Minnesota-based band who refer to themselves simply as The Pines. Co-produced by Bo Ramsey, the man frequently behind the boards for Greg Brown, Above the Prairie unfolds as a series of shimmering, seductive soundscapes that effectively convey the other-worldly imagery asserted in its title. Within this beguiling set of songs, a dream-like scenario with a nocturnal gaze unfolds; on songs such as “Aerial Ocean,” “There In Spirit,” “Sleepy Hollow,” and “Hanging From The Earth,” these elusive entries resonate with an unworldly allure capable of stopping listeners in their tracks. The brooding chorus on “Here” — a gathering that includes guest appearances from Ramsey, Brown, Iris Dement, and Pieta Brown among others — is as solemn, somber and moving as any hallowed cathedral choir, adding to the celestial feel that permeates the proceedings overall.
However the most moving sequence of the entire album emerges with the final entry, the mystical “Time Dreams,” which fittingly features the late Native American singer, poet and fearless activist John Trudell and his band Quiltman. (Listen to the track HERE.) Trudell, who passed away just this past December, seals the spiritual set-up with a final spoken narrative that not only illuminates the song’s quiet embrace, but also raises the emotional bar overall. Indeed, for all the hushed musings, the reverence accorded and afforded this indisputable icon is as inspiring as it is affecting.
DOWNLOAD: “Aerial Ocean,” “There In Spirit,” “Time Dreams”