Album Review: Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars by Sarah Louise
Excellent, Based on 3 Critics
AllMusic - 80 Based on rating 8/10
Experimental folk musician Sarah Louise Henson made her name as both a composer and a skilled 12-string acoustic guitarist with a distinctive style that made her music and the instrument seem uniquely interdependent. That approach, which concentrated on intricate detail, including things like deconstructed overtones, song-specific tunings, and small patterns rather than the big, ringing sound associated with the 12-string, was established on two instrumental albums and 2018's Deeper Woods, her singing/songwriting and Thrill Jockey debut. A year later, the follow-up, Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars, breaks new ground for Henson, building tracks from improvisation on an electric guitar with standard tuning, both firsts for her.
The Georgia-born, North Carolina-based musician Sarah Louise Henson is often associated with the American primitive style of guitar, and for good reason. Her fingerstyle playing, frequently on 12-string, runs through Appalachian folk music and John Fahey to the grassroots minimalism of Henry Flynt and Terry Riley. She plays regional folk music in the duo House and Land and remains in the Appalachian Mountains, living in a rural area an hour outside of North Carolina's western hub, Asheville.
Starlit wankery; or, an aural panoramic of the Milky Way galaxy.
To understand Nighttime Birds and Morning Stars, a glance into Sarah Louise's recent past is prudent. An acoustic artist at heart, Louise has now crafted three pastoral folk albums since 2015. She's as technically skilled and dexterous as any guitarist out there, which is an obvious statement for fans of her Acoustic Vol.