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-  Label: 'Joyful Noise'
-  Genre: 'Alt/Country' -  Release Date: '17th February 2017'

Our Rating:
Mike Savino is described a "banjo-wielding bard" but he's no Dock Boggs.

With his impressive stock of gizmos and loop pedals, the banjo sounds nothing much like the instrument you commonly associate with country blues or Appalachian Bluegrass. Only elements of a hokey tune like SeagullxEagle hint at those old-timey genres.

Savino studied jazz double bass in New York but he's a rustic at heart and he leapt at the chance to escape the metropolis and work as temporary caretaker of a vacated health retreat in Blairsville, Georgia.

The nine tracks for Freedays, his third album, were composed in this relative solitude. A song such as CLC makes it plain that he didn't unduly miss the city life in dusty apartments or travelling on crowded commuter trains.

As such, the resulting material has a luminous nature-loving Fleet Foxes aura to it with mellow melodies that are also faintly reminiscent of Simon & Garfunkel. It's a record that places him firmly within the folky / hippy canon memorably described by Simon Reynolds as the "new bearded bucolicism".

The best tracks have multi-layered, toe-tapping grooves; check out , for example, Backroads, The Riverbend and So Predictable.

"Ten days can last a lifetime when you're waiting for a love to come", Savino muses in the sublime title track which he says is "An exploration of the passage of time"

This is a description with could well be applied to the album as a whole in which lovesickness is more prominent as an ailment than homesickness.   

Tall Tall Trees' website
  author: Martin Raybould

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