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Keys

£22.00

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Bill MacKay and Nathan Bowles’ debut is well titled: Keys are what they play and keys unlock things too. Their trad bonafides are balanced with inquisitive playing that adds surprise as a formal songwriting and arranging tool. Spirited 21st Century folk music made of equal parts bluegrass, classical, country, gospel and improv. 

Keys is, on first blush, a collection of guitar and banjo duets - but from the opening moment, it is clear that Bill and Nathan’s agreed-upon duo is a living organism, growing as it goes. Behind the stately figures of ‘Idumea’, a 19th Century southern hymnal played out on their stringed instruments, a low organ drone hums persistently, signalling that this music, while coming from traditional places, is asking more of itself, seeking sparks of inspiration to light the path forward.

Eight of the ten songs featured are originals, with the other two coming from different centuries to this one. The diversity of song is matched by the instrumentation: in addition to Bill’s guitar and Nathan’s banjo, they add voice, piano, percussion, pump organ, requinto and electric organ to the richness and rusticity, the traditionalism and open space of the compositions.

Released: April 2021
Cat: DC784
Label: Drag City

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Tracklist

1. Idumea
2. Honey Time
3.Late For Your Funeral Again
4. Dry Rations II
5. Joy Ride
6. I See God
7. Dry Rations I
8. Dowsing
9. Truth
10. The I in Silence