Album Review: The Pines – Above The Prairie

The Pines Above the Prairie 375 sqMidwestern folkicana outfit, The Pines, have perfectly distilled the beauty of the grassy ranges of the midwest into sonic form with their latest release, the aptly-named Above The Prairie, out on February 5th via Red House Records.

The 10-song stunner is a tribute to the beauty of the small towns and forgotten farmlands of the Great Plains. The Pines employ simplicity in their lyrics and their instrumentation; there is no overproduction here, no extraneous bells and whistles, no distractions from the purity they have presented.  The sound of the album’s opening track, “Aerial Ocean”, encompasses the depth and mystery of the ocean and captures the expanse of a starry midwestern sky, a place where the vastness of the heavens reaches the ground.  Songs like “There In Spirit”, “Hanging From The Earth”, and “Sleepy Hollow” are upbeat and rambling road tunes, contrasted with the dreamy “Lost Nation” and the chorale-oriented “Here”, which poignantly capture the hopeful melancholy of wide open spaces left behind when once-vibrant communities diminish and disappear.

The final track of the album, “Time Dreams”, is a collaboration with the late Native American musician, poet, and activist John Trudell, who The Pines cite as a major influence on their music.  Delicate and acoustically celestial refrains flow beneath Trudell’s poetic recitation, as Quilt Man’s accompanying Native chants and background vocal stylings punctuate and support the power of the spoken word.  Above The Prairie is an absolute dream.

To purchase Above The Prairie

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