Salt for Salt
Supply & Demand
If there isn’t a genre called “country noir,” let’s invent it, and I nominate David Lamb and partner Morgan Eve Swain — Brown Bird — as example number one. Pared down to a duo for their second album, this is primal acoustic music that captivates as it skips around easy classification. The opener, “Fingers to the Bone,” wouldn’t sound out of place on a Dock Boggs collection, with Lamb’s down-stroked banjo providing the tempo. Swain takes vocal duties on “End of Days” which broods with her cello and Lamb’s guitar. “Shiloh” sounds like a Turkish marketplace, with atmospheric handclaps and strident violin and cello, and reminds you of the legendary Oregon. Lyrically this is music of hellfire and brimstone, perhaps due to Lamb being the son of a minister.
This is an album that sneaks up on you, revealing secrets anew with each listen. From the Bad Livers-inspired “Chairkickers” to the mournful “Nothing Left,” Brown Bird’s Salt for Salt is a record of both beauty and sadness in equal parts. Lamb and Swain sound comfortable spanning the mountain music of some dark holler as well as Middle East dervishes — often in the same tune. Captivating.
Brown Bird: www.brownbird.net