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Kacy & Clayton

The Siren's Song – 2017 (New West)

Reviewed by Donald Teplyske

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CDs by Kacy & Clayton

Canadian cousins Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum build upon the success and artistic latitude their previous "Strange Country" brought them and teamed with Jeff Tweedy to craft a folk-rock explosion that is positively astonishing.

Building on the trad. arr folk tradition, crafting sweeping originals that build on British and North American folk traditions, "The Siren's Song" is a too-brief album of grace and beauty. One should not be faulted for thinking renditions of these songs were unearthed on dusty Jean Ritchie and Peggy Seeger collections, but all except the final track "Go And Leave Me" (itself trad. arr. coming via Norma Waterson) are Kacy & Clayton living folk creations, an amalgam of breezy Laurel Canyon sounds of the '70s, '60s mountain-folk revivalists and modern free-thinking trance-folk.

"If I was one lone sparrow, nested in one lone tree," Linthicum sings in "White Butte Country, "I'd make my flight into the light and contented I would be." There is a sense of free-form narrative poetry emanating from many of these songs, emboldened by a driving cavalcade of sounds cemented in the rhythm section of Mike Silverman (drums) and Shuyler Jansen (bass).

"Cannery Road" requires more restraint, and here acoustic guitar builds the foundation for breezy observance of desperation firmly rooted in the folk tradition. The title track and "The Light Of Day" take their inspiration from the tradition, but it is equally possible to find the influence of Jimmy Webb, Alice Gerrard and Joni Mitchell in their lyrics and presentations.

In mythology, the siren's call portends doom. No such fear here: Kacy & Clayton have taken significant steps forward with "The Siren's Song," establishing a sound unique within our Americana world. It is, however, as irresistible as the daughters of Achelous.