In the midst of the re-emergence and popularity of folk music (which is very much deserved for a genre that has been so overlooked for so long) you’d hope that it might encourage people to delve deeper and look past those artists who have found an audience in the mainstream like Mumford & Sons and Noah & The Whale and investigate albums that lean towards its roots. If they are so adventurous, they will stumble upon Dear Winesburg.
On first listen to the group’s debut album, it’s far too easy to be daunted but this is a prime example as to why records should be given time. On repeated listens, certain songs start to become much clearer and and within time you’ll discover it to be quite a rewarding listen.
The title track (all four parts of it) has a delightful spring in its step and ‘The Ballad Of Mary Freer’, a two and a half minute instrumental, is particularly intricate. ‘To Let Reply’ is just one of many tunes that show off some of the outstanding arrangements that have been conjured up by the London outfit and ‘Awake’ is a rousing number tucked away towards the end that feels like one last all-out burst of enthusiasm. The record also sounds quite broad and boundless as it allows each individual instrument to shine. From every fluttering violin note to every guitar string delicately plucked, it shows off muscianship that is heavily accomplished.hi
This is not an album that is meant to be savoured on its first listen. It needs the patience of the listener to give it a few more spins to fully appreciate what’s on offer. There are plenty of treats to enjoy here and it’s one of those few LPs that justifies its near hour-long running time. This is a fine interpretation of traditional-sounding folk, particularly for a debut, and well worth a good chunk of your time.
Words: Max Raymond