Uplifting all instrumental folkthatrocks filled with joy and hopeful energy
In sailing terms, a broad reach is achieved when the wind is nearly full in the sails and this album encapsulates that feeling. There’s both a hi and lo-fi approach with tudio takes blended with spontaneous performances from a hand-held recorder. The backbone of the album uses both crunchy electric and driving acoustic guitars, including Spencer’s inimitable cross-flat-picking. There are two different bass players who find endless inspiration within Lewis' minimalist sound structures, full out organ, crazy, melodic synthesizer passages, dancing mandolin, and drums both steady or hanging by a thread. Soaring over the top is Lewis’ iconic violin, cutting through like the bow of a boat in high seas. A very different album for longtime fans of Lewis' work.
Three of the first four songs were originally sent to a western ski area who licensed Lewis’ music for promotional use. Once forgotten, he decided to revisit the tracks and through the laws of attraction, other songs began to emerge to reveal a full artistic statement.
Spencer’s inimitable acoustic cross-flat-picking is well represented in addition to debuting his electric guitar work. On Reaching, we hear the free-flowing bass lines of Eric Graham (Haywire) and Brett Hoffman’s (Dave Keller) steady drums putting the rock into folk. Rudy Dauth (Chad Hollister) plays bass on the four-part evolution that is Channeling, culminating in the full meltdown that is Channeling III and IV, while the outrageous drums that perilously ride the tempo changes come from Jeff Berlin (Bow Thayer). As he commented in a recent email:
"Sounds like we were all in the same room recording it live. Not an easy task with a piece like that.”
Adding to the mix is a gifted keyboardist from Brooklyn, Bryn Bliska who takes these songs on an unexpected journey with her wild synth and supportive organ parts. The sweet sound of the Meadow Riff was recorded second in the Channeling session; it doesn’t make sense but the file numbers do not lie. Throughout some of these lo-fi guitar parts are anomalies, click’s and pops, as there’s only so much a producer can do when the wood stove is booting up in the morning and the New Years Ramble is being played after the aforementioned late nite gig. Rudy Dauth also shines on mandolin and acoustic leads in the accelerated progression that is the Sugarhouse Ramble.
Bob Dylan achieved his “wild, thin, mercury sound” when he recorded Blonde on Blonde in Nashville. This is Lewis’ own ‘wild, mercurial, sound’ from his Gilead Road Studios in Bethel, Vermont.