Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore Dear Companion

What hit me immediately about this album was how on second track "My Wealth Comes To Me," Sollee and Moore sound like a modern-day Louvin Brothers. The depth of their performance, built upon a sparse arrangement accentuated only by cello and nearly imperceptible keyboards, is overwhelming. These two Kentucky natives, who each debuted with solo albums in 2008, have teamed here out of a need to raise awareness of how their state's coalmining practices continue to devastate rural communities. Yet, that cause is only subtly addressed on this intimate 11-song collection, produced by My Morning Jacket's Jim James. Rather than taking a militant stance, Sollee and Moore lean on Appalachian musical tradition to illustrate the strength that exists to resist the unchecked pillaging of the environment. Although the pair concede in "Only A Song" that what they're doing can't change the world, in "Flyrock Blues" they present a clear warning that those living in the path of industry must be prepared to take a stand. People of Alberta, take note. (Sub Pop)