By Mike Saponaro
The changing landscape of the Midwest and its loss of the yeoman farmer carries somber tones that resonate well with Iowa natives The Pines.
Band members David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey are well-versed in traditional music, and their newest album Dark So Gold incorporates contemporary indie-folk instrumentals and stark-country vocals.
While not all listeners will enjoy the alt-country feel, fans of southern-folk bands like Lost in the Trees and You and Your Effects should appreciate the distinctive mix of acoustic guitars, banjos and haunting lyrics.
The album’s instrumental tracks “Moonrise, IA” and “Grace Hill” convey ethereal and atmospheric sounds that can only be captured by traditional folk artists. Meanwhile, their bluesy tracks “Rise Up and Be Lonely” and “Dead Feathers” give tribute to a Native American history of the Midwest that’s missing in most contemporary country albums. For listeners on the fence, simply listen to the opening track “Cry, Cry Crow”, and its gruff and rural background will give you a sense of the album’s influence.