Sunday, May 27

The mythology of Folklore

Athens-based experimental folk outfit Folklore has a number of southeastern dates coming up to support their The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman. Their debut full-length, it follows last year's Carpenter's Falls EP. Folklore is primarily the project of Elf Power guitarist Jimmy Hughes, and includes a cast of prominent Athens musicians.

Although relatively lo-fi in production, The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman is an interesting and ambitious record. It is a concept album, crafting songs around a mythology centered on events and personalities from upstate New York (some actual, some imagined). It's not purely driven by the premise like Tommy, for example, but incorporates various story elements into the songs. This effort is broadly rooted in a sort of psych-folk aesthetic, with songs ranging from accessible folk ("The Vet" and "The Pharmacist") to jangle-pop ("The Father") and psychedelia ("The Drowning of Lake Bonaparte"). A number of tracks incorporate brass, woodwinds and strings as well, generally contributed by musicians affiliated with the Elephant 6 umbrella.

While an interesting listen, the record isn't instantly accessible -- because the lyrics are steeped in Folklore's mythology initial listens were more enjoyable with the lyrics on hand. It's a bold move to tackle the unfamiliar and ask the listener to come along for the ride. There is the potential that such a maneuver would constrain a record's appeal, but then I'm reminded of Sufjan Stevens singing about the Chickenmobile of Decatur, Illinois, or Snowden referencing the MJQ Concourse. Still, the record has some real gems that make the effort worthwhile.

The tracklist of The Ghost of H.W. Beaverman, with a couple samples:

01. Enter the Ghost
02. The Kid
03. The Father
04. The Drowning at Lake Bonaparte
05. The Bartender
06. The Vet
07. Bill & James
08. The Pharmacist
09. The Ghost
10. H.W. Beaverman
11. Going Home

Upcoming Folklore tour dates:

May 30 - Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA (w/ Summer Hymns)
May 31 - Grey Eagle, Asheville, NC (w/ Summer Hymns)
June 15 - Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC
June 16 - Art Bar, Columbia, SC
June 23 - Athfest @ Hot Corner, Athens, GA (w/ Titans of Filth)
July 21 - Caledonia Lounge, Athens, GA (w/ Je Suis France)

There is an extensive Flagpole interview with Jimmy Hughes of Folklore online. For more on the band, see their Myspace.


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