The Pines Sparrows In The Bell

The Pines Sparrows In The Bell

Although they hail from Minneapolis, the duo of Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt, which form the core of the Pines, seem to have little in common with that city’s cherished roots punk legacy. Instead, Sparrows In The Bell has more commonalities with the stark emptiness of much of the rest of the American Midwest. With most songs based around a simple bluesy acoustic guitar riff, Ramsey and Huckfelt subtly build them into haunting odes to a past either real or imagined. Although sometimes reminiscent of Bright Eyes, the Pines seem more committed to evoking traditional American folk themes, quoting well-known lyrics in "Don’t Let Me Go” and covering the untraceable "Careless Love,” a song recorded by early 20th century blues, jazz and country artists alike. Still, the overall vibe of the album is low-key, with production by Ramsey’s father Bo (best known for his work with Lucinda Williams) playing a large role in keeping the interest level high, the distant electric guitars and strings constantly swirl in the mix. Sparrows In The Bell is a consistently compelling listen and fans of Calexico would do well to check it out. (Red House)