Published Nov 11, 2015The sophomore album from cousins Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum transports listeners — not to the duo's rural hometown of Glentworth, Saskatchewan, or to places whose traditional music they draw inspiration from, but to a place entirely of their own making, where time stands still, where traditional stories are told and cherished and the old ways provide the foundation for all new outputs. Though there's nothing unfamiliar about it, Kacy & Clayton call it Strange Country.
Throughout, Linthicum's deft guitar picking dances with Anderson's dazzling vocals to create something extraordinary. In the opening and title track, it comes across as pleasantly simple, but a closer listen reveals just how intricately woven and complementary these two powerful instruments are. When Kacy & Clayton invite a full band to join them, as they do throughout the album, it's done delicately so as to not overpower their organic combination; the light and playful percussion in "Springtime of the Year" allows the song to blossom, while the strings in the tragic "Dyin' Bed Maker" makes it wail with grief.
Although Strange Country has a mix of original and traditional songs, no song ever feels less steeped in history. "Down At The Dancehall," an original track, sways to a rhythm that would have encouraged dancing decades earlier just as much as it does now. The standout original song "Brunswick Stew" is performed as a duet and tells a story that's as captivating as the one heard amongst the call and response between Anderson and Linthicum in the traditional song "Plains of Mexico."
Kacy & Clayton craft timeless and detailed folk songs on Strange Country, an album that more than promises the duo's staying power. (Big White Cloud)