[A]nachronism in music is something we hear in music every day, especially folk music, as it is passed down from generation to generation. It seems as though Avi Vinocur and Patrick Dyer Wolf, the creatives proper for cross-country collaboration Goodnight, Texas understand that. Their music seems to come straight from turn of the century Appalachian folk music, some tradition, some with a bit of a modern take. What is dangerous when performing that particular type of music is its authenticity may be in question. Goodnight Texas has found a way to subvert that with the historical background of Dyer Wolf’s family.
The album, Uncle John Farquhar, was conceptualized as a scrapbook, and inspired from personal experiences, stories and letters uncovered from archives buried in their own personal family history, including sermons and personal letters from Dyer Wolf’s great great grandfather John Farquhar for whom the album was named, and were adapted into songs.
All that is great in a PR note, but most importantly, the songs perform as billed, and that is where I believe the band has success. Their songs are transportational, they jump you to a different time and place, and balance the unfamiliar with the familiar giving a part of the modern within the tradition of folk music. If you’ve seen the band perform, you may have heard a lot of the songs that appear on Farquhar, they’ve cut their teeth playing these songs live, and it shows on the record, as they are as cohesive and smooth as though the band has been playing them for years.
Farquhar begins with an instrumental jam “Hayride,” that seems to set the scene for what is to come, a story from another time. As the band brings in what is sure to be crowd favorites during their live sets, the upbeat, jangly sing-a-long “Button Your Collar,” the foot-stomping “A Bank Robber’s Nursery Rhyme,” and then the sorrowful, simmering “I Just Can’t Stop Leaving Town,” a song most any songwriter probably wish they wrote. Highlights abound on the record, on “The Horse Accident (In Which a Girl Was All but Killed)” you’ll find a story about a chivalrous man hoping and praying to god above to take him over his lover. It’s instantly lovable, fun to hear, and it warms the heart. “Moonshiners,” wraps into two rootsy, brooding & foot stomping song that represents a bit of the darker side, “Dearest Sarah,” a love-letter ballad, and one of my favorite tunes, “Uncle John Farquhar (I Guess I Did Alright)” will have you singing along hollering the chorus, and tapping your feet. There’s a lot to like on this record, it’s more of the same of what we loved with A Long Life of Living, with higher highs, and lower lows.
I was very happy to get to listen to this in advance, and I’m happy that these guys made this record, I think it’s a great continuation of what they have been trying to do. It’s a hayride of Americana filled with stories that transcend time, even when they have old-time aesthetic.
Grab Uncle John Farquhar now. I mean, grab the record. Well you know.
GNTX Tour Dates
8/3 St Helena, CA Long Meadow Ranch Winery
8/7 San Francisco, CA The Chapel
8/8 Frenso, CA Audies Olympic
8/12 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
8/14 San Luis Obispo, CA Frog and Peach
8/15 Los Angeles, CA The Mint
8/16 San Diego Soda Bar
09/09 Boston, MA Great Scott?
09/10 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
09/12 New York, NY Mercury Lounge?
09/14 Philadelphia, PA World Cafe Live?
09/16 Arlington, VA IOTA
09/17 Charlotte, NC The Evening Muse
09/18 Chapel Hill, NC Local 506?
9/19 Boone, NC Appalachian Mountain Brewery
09/20 Bristol, TN Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion?
09/21 Bristol, TN Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion
09/23 Athens, GA The Melting Point
09/26 Nashville, TN The High Watt