"What kind of love hits you just enough to feel anxious and leaves you alone?" ... a line from the beautifully textured single, "Henry Miller," released via Victor Pokorny's solo project, Lori Lori Lay. The self-recorded track is layered with mandolin, piano, synthesizer, box-type percussion, and multiple shades of Pokorny's knack for vocal pop bliss. The track, along with the bouncy, made-for-TV soundtrack tune, "You're Breaking My Heart!" were both released during his summer break from University of Wyoming and exemplifies why he's one of the more interesting composers to call Jackson home in the last decade. While these recordings have a demo-esque vibe, it goes to show that it doesn't really matter when the writing is hooky, tactful and at times, seemingly off-the-cuff and tastefully imperfect. Pokorny fits a lot of musical ideas in a short time frame, an evolution in direct response to how he views the shift in music consumption. Notable, too, is that these recordings came free of baggage, i.e., Kickstarter campaigning, press releases, artwork, media buildup, or an album release party. Just music being made in a bedroom and shoved into the airwaves. There's something refreshingly underground about that...
By Aaron Davis (for JHWeekly.com) 'Waging Heavy Peace' with a Psychedelic Pill They were released and consumed in the perfect sequence—the book before the album. If you love the music of Neil Young, which spans forty years and thirty-four studio albums, the near simultaneous release of his autobiography Waging Heavy Peace and his second album of the year with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill, is as complimentary as these two mediums get. Young is a free bird, a true improviser, yet an obsessive-compulsive creator and completer of things. Like an unabashed, epic Crazy Horse jam, the book reads like a giant stream-of-consciousness journal entry, taking unexpected turns, bouncing from era to era, and over-emphasizing the heaviest riffs in
By Aaron Davis (for JHWeekly.com) Jackson Hole, Wyo. - Teton Valley music fans have watched Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real grow up, live in their backyard. Two sets at Targhee Fests, a couple of shows at The Trap Bar, an impromptu showing at the Knotty Pine and Music on Main, The Real has sent a buzz across the Tetons. This established timeline is one that our corner of the country rarely gets to be apart of – watching a young artist mature and enjoying it along the way. (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals come to mind?). While Lukas resembles the idea of a spitting image of his father, Willie – most noticeably in the reedy familiarity of Lukas’ nasally vocal tone, the fondness for marijuana (songs), and the knack for crooning a slow ballad – there are some heady divergences too. Lukas, at a mere twenty-three, has already released two studio albums, two live albums and an EP. And though Willie has an astonishing 100-plus albums to his credit, his first album didn’t spin until he was twenty-nine. What’s more important, though, is that there’s an obvious legacy that is both being embraced and getting advanced. The embrace began when Lukas was a teenager, playing in Willie’s band for seven years before quitting school and starting his own band. Now that Lukas and his band have been touring for a few years and making a path of their own, a landmark collaboration of Willie and Lukas comes in the form of this year’s Heroes. The eclectic and star-studded album includes
Down the River MALCOLM HOLCOMBE Holcombe—a mysterious, high wire Western North Carolina soul—is a songwriter’s songwriter, a lyrical giant. Rolling Stones’ David Fricke took keen notice in stating, “not quite country, somewhere beyond folk, Holcombe's music is a kind of blues in motion, mapping backwoods corners of the heart." What also stands out is his percussive, ultra-expressive guitar plucking and a raspy, breathy baritone that would scare Tom Waits. With guitar and voice in the foreground, songs are textured with selective rises of pedal steel, dobro, fiddle and other
Half-Made Man BEN SOLLEE Considering the access to any kind of music these days, it’s still feasible that regional sounds can develop. Not that Ben Sollee is channeling fellow Louisville-native Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), but the influence is undeniable when the songs on Half-Made Man approach rock and reverb land. Yet Sollee – a classically trained cellist, multi-instrumentalist, and environmental activist – has already proved innovative and wise beyond his 20-something years with his debut, Learning to Bend , followed by sophisticated arrangements on last year’s Inclusions. Half-Made Man was fan funded through a PledgeMusic campaign and self-produced by Sollee, acknowledging it in “DIY.” Other than the ordinary album art, Half-Made Man is perhaps his most well-rounded effort. It’s as if Sollee realized, like Dylan going electric, that a fuzzy guitar with sustain is pretty damn rad – and that cello, mandolin and fiddle still work within. The rock elements are kept spatially soulful, with a boosted electric bass that propels some killer grooves here, courtesy of STS9 bassist Alana Rocklin.