Sunday, January 22, 2006


Artist / Band: 13 GHOSTS
Song (MP3): ROBERT J
File Under: New Folk / Pop
Album: Cicada
Label: Skybucket Records
Info: At one level this is the sort of comfy-sounding, down-home strummy-guitar song that often does not catch my ear. And yet I know there is a variant of this sort of thing that I like, and "Robert J." from the Birmingham, Alabama-based 13ghosts is a good example of this variant, and I'm sitting and listening and trying my best first to ascertain and then to describe what, to me, separates a non-descript rootsy-country-Americana song from a standout track. The word that arises as I attempt to figure this out is "tension." A song can sound simple and laid-back and yet be suffused with depth and character--and tension is what makes all the difference. How, in this case, is that tension achieved? From the start we hear a strikingly plain acoustic guitar, upfront and exposed, no rhythm section, no steel guitar accents, and it strikes me that in this case the slower rather than the faster strum sounds more vulnerable, more real--tenser.
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