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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    The Pines Return to Roots

    The Pines: Tremolo (Red House Records).

    Country music has become so orchestral and bombastic in its effort to crossover to the pop mainstream that the only historical analogy I can think of is a mid-1970s punk’s angry refutation of rock’s orchestral syrup. Lots of country music is like that these days ‘- think the Moody Blues with a twangy accent.

    It’s massively refreshing to listen to The Pines ‘- a stripped down, largely acoustic outfit that reminds the listener that country’s origins are, well, just that: rural folk playing softly on their porches.

    This Iowa-born duo–they now make their home in Minneapolis–is steeped in midwestern folk tradition.

    One of the pair, Benson Ramsey, is the son of folk mainstay Greg Brown’s producer, and he adopts the stripped bare sound and the harmonically whispered lyrics that mark his dad’s distinctive sound. Bo, Benson’s dad, produced the album.

    The other Pine is David Huckfelt. Both guys play guitar and sing, and their sound is so easy and well-integrated that it’s hard to know where one stops and the other starts.
    But don’t let all that apparently peaceful easy feeling lull you into complacency. The Pines demand serious attention. Just because their sound is unpretentious and lacks flash doesn’t mean there aren’t layers of rich sound, aching vocals, spare arrangements and truly thoughtful lyrics.

    Their second major-label album, Tremolo, was recorded in just two days. It’s more akin to a weathered red barn, in which each beam could tell you its many stories. One such story is the album’s final song, ‘Shiny Shoes,’ a haunting tale of a dream of love.
    A tremolo is a small vibration, that little tremor in the voice that expresses ‘- and thus elicits ‘- deep emotion. And that quality makes this album among the best-titled CDs I’ve heard this year. Subtle and smart, it is also evocative and thoughtful.

    Oh, and they are coming to Stony Brook. Don’t miss The Pines, at the University Caf’eacute; on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. What a nice way to end the semester.

    In case you can’t make the University Cafe show, the Pines are currently on tour and are coming to the Northeast on Dec. 5th.
    Here is their Northeast line-up:

    Dec. 5th-Wellsville Creative Arts Center: Wellsville, NY
    Dec. 6th-Caffe Lena: Saratoga Springs, NY
    Dec. 8th- The Living Room: New York, NY
    Dec. 10th-Ninth Ward at Babeville: Buffalo. NY
    Dec. 11th – Club Passim: Cambridge, MA
    Dec. 12th- Rongovian Embassy: Trumansburg, NY
    Dec. 13th- University Cafe: Stony Brook, NY

    Track Listing:
    1. Pray Tell
    2. Heart & Bones
    3. Shine On Moon
    4. Lonesome Tremolo Blues
    5. Meadows of Dawn
    6. Skipper & His Wife
    7. Spike Driver Blues
    8. Behind the Time
    9. Avenue of the Saints
    10. Shiny Shoes

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