For all of our 21st century sophistication and technological achievements it seems to me we need old forms and methods more and more. For all the instant gratification of Google searching, and for all the manic energy, rancor and divisiveness of the 24 hour news cycle, we need from time to time to retreat to a simple, more intentional way of thinking and feeling. In the place of dazzling special effects we yearn for a story that is true, based in human (as opposed to technological) experience. Music can take us there. It has the ability to transport us to our own humanity and history, both familial and universal. In our current time we need the scribes of the tribes, the oral historians who anchor us with their stories of our past, shared struggles we all can find as common ground. And we need to laugh and sing. We need Michael Jerome Browne.
Lowland Hum push themselves to the brink, and return with Glyphonic, a song cycle that challenges the artist and listener alike to resist the gravitational pull of the material world and to choose to live with intent. As with their 2017 release, Thin, the duo of Daniel and Lauren Goans wrestle weighty questions with grace and aplomb. The title of the album is our first clue. Glyphs bring to mind the picture stories of ancient chroniclers. Phonic calls to mind sound, and so we have an album of picture-story songs. The Goans have compiled snapshots of the road they have travelled which offer insights into our own journeys. As usual, they make going deep look easy.
J.M. McSpadden III is a writer and roots music enthusiast who believes every road trip is an opportunity for the full- tilt boogie.