Boris McCutcheon When We Were Big

In order to capture that idyllic alt-country-folk vibe, Boston MA musician Boris McCutcheon could only think of going to one place that would provide the perfect vibe — the desert. So along with area co-producer/recordist Pete Weiss, Boris headed to Tucson where nothing but isolation, sand, intense heat and x-ray sunlight would coat his songs with the wide-open space and sweaty authenticity. And to add even more flavour, the two enlisted musicians from the Calexico/Giant Sand contingent as well as the recordist for Neko Case to create a spectacular yet mellow masterpiece that comes across as a Steve Earle musical affair fusing with the looseness of a mid-era Bob Dylan. What is great about this album is that it sounds as if everyone is in their place, and no one is striving to break new ground — instead, they water the dry and proven ground with an intense amount of soul. Flying in and around Boris's sometimes sad, introspective and peace-finding lyrics are a whirlwind of rusty sounding instruments that grind like buzzards across the steam rising from the vocals — from sharp old-school plate-reverberated guitars (which were perhaps plugged into a cactus) to tin shed slide guitars, dusty harmonicas and banjos. McCutcheon certainly is a musical vanguard in his own right — he tosses ego out the window and equally marries acoustics, thoughts, and traditional instruments into a tried, tested and proven genre of music and breathes new life into it. (Cactusman)