Portland, Oregon based folk outfit Horse Feathers released their fourth studio album today, Cynic’s New Year. The quintet has always had all of the pieces to make up a great folk group. The combination of fiddles, banjo and strings with lead singer Justin Ringle’s rough but soothing voice have always made Horse Feathers’ sound distinct. But on their fourth album, they have managed to
fill out their sound. Instead of just the river, mountains, trees and valleys, we’ve got the full landscape. And it is beautiful.
Each song off of Cynic’s New Year is fuller and flows better than the band’s previous work. Where Ringle’s voice has stood out starkly, this time around his voice is perfectly matched to the surrounding sounds: the quick but deliberate banjo, the wavering strings and accompanying percussion.
The album title, perfectly describes the emotion of the album. A skeptical, pessimistic view of what is normally seen as a fresh start, the entire album features language and evokes emotion that is both uplifting and heartbreaking. Stories of roadside journeys and working men and women, the album is equal parts heart and heft. In Where I’ll Be, Ringle croons, “It’s the road and miles of it that’s only mine, But it gets exactly what you see, it’s where you are that’s where I’ll be.”
Longtime fans will surely be more than satisfied with this new album. And hopefully it will convert some new fans as well. You can grab it online here. The group will be in Boston on May 5th playing Brighton Music Hall with Brown Bird. A really great lineup, it’s sure to be a fantastic live show. You
can check out the rest of their tour dates online here.