Release Date: Nov 4, 2008
Record label: Immune
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
To be sure, Micah Blue Smaldone’s songs can be awfully antiquated. He sings of time long past, of hunters from ages ago, of lands we read about in books. But like Fire on Fire, the band he plays with, he never uses his old sounds as some clever crutch to rest borrowed sounds on. Smaldone channels old voices rather than co-opting them, and uses them to create folk music that is infused with a very present and immediate emotion, while still touching on themes that can resonate in near any time.
Welcome to Judging an Album by its Cover, 101. Today, we’ll be starting with Micah Blue Smaldone’s 4th solo effort, The Red River. A lady with antlers on the cover; what do we make of that? My first thought is: the theriocephalic figure is traditionally a symbol of Man’s interdependence with Nature, and in modern symbology, post-Darwin, connotations include our suppressed bestiality, our mortality, the Death of God.
Like his sometime tour mate, Joel Thibodeaux of Death Vessel, Micah Blue Smaldone has been moving towards music that is rooted, rather than confined, in 19th century folk. His first album, 2003’s Some Sweet Day, was defiantly old-time-ish, rooted in populist folk and protest music and played on a resonator guitar. Two years later, he offered Hither and Thither, a bit more modern in its references and scope.