Small seasonal hire

Black Twig Pickers: Seasonal Hire CD

Small seasonal hire

Black Twig Pickers: Seasonal Hire

Steve Gunn released one of the best record of 2014. Oh, but he did the same thing in 2013, too. So, he's prolific, and handling both the quality and quantity ends of the equation. Here, the exploratory guitarist and singer teams up with The Black Twig Pickers for a hypnotic Appalachian string-band raga ramble. There's fiddle, banjo, guitar and singing, with extended drones helping to give the casual and loose recording enough stickiness to hold its center. Gunn's signature cycling patterns mesh nicely with the barn-dance-ready leanings. There's propulsive energy to these songs, but also a deep abiding calm and patience. At times, the spirit of Karen Dalton seems to be hovering over the whole affair, casting a spooky blessing over songs like "Trailways Ramble." On the 16-minute title track, the cascading swoop of the string band in full flow turns into a kind of meditative minimalist wash -- as much Miles Davis and Velvet Underground as Bill Monroe and Dock Boggs.
-- John Adamian, Relix