Shotgun & Jaybird Dawson Towne Recordings

There is a certain vicarious pleasure in hearing a four-track experiment captured to tape in all its clumsy glory. Listening to this recording gives you the sense of happening upon someone as they stumble through the songwriting process. The little vignettes painted here are at times morose, at times verging on completely goofy, but they convey easily the transient happiness of a summer in the Yukon. No one listed in the minimal liner notes admits to vocals, but they are pleasantly slack, even at times confident. Lyrics are thankfully understated and tend towards stream-of-consciousness, yielding almost by accident a surprising gem — the achingly poignant "Spill Yer Lungs.” Sung into the pleasing echo of a sparse room, and so lightly sketched in by banjo and electric guitar that it is almost insubstantial, the song carries with it an emotional weight that is worth the entire album. (Independent)