“This is only a song / It can’t change the world…” Probably not, but it sure is making me happy right now.
I don’t know much about Daniel Martin Moore and Ben Sollee except that they’re both from Kentucky and they’re opposed to a type of mining that damages mountains. A part of the proceeds from this album goes to helping that cause.
I don’t pick up on a very strong protest vibe from Dear Companion, but what I do hear is a fine collection of acoustic songs (guitar and cello), sung in gentle, comforting voices with pretty harmonies.
Highlights include the lead-off track (“Something, Somewhere, Sometime,” which blew me away the first time I heard it), “Needn’t Say a Thing,” and “Only a Song,” quoted above. Fans of Andrew Bird, who get exhausted by his cleverness will appreciate this. This music isn’t simpile, by any means, but it doesn’t sound like it’s trying so hard.
Moore and Sollee trade off on lead vocals, and the album includes a couple of incidental instrumentals that showcase the duo’s virtuosity but otherwise aren’t particularly memorable.
My Morning Jacket‘s Jim James lends atmospheric ambience that helps to transform the meterial beyond the “two folkie dudes upstairs at a bar” expectations into something more interesting. It’s a quiet album that could be easily overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. These guys are Southern gentlemen, and Southern gentlemen don’t need to shout to get their point across.