Friday, 23 November 2012

Grey Reverend - Of The Days

Alternate tunings ahoy! Beautiful, timeless, exploratory folk from sometime member of The Cinematic Orchestra.

Brooklyn based musician L.D. Brown (Aka Grey Reverend) was born and raised in Philadelphia and grew up on a musical diet of jazz, blues and late 80's indie bands such as Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine. After first taking up the saxophone Brown later switched to the guitar, and learnt his craft in a succession of Philadelphia bands as well as immersing himself in music theory and jazz improvisation.

Brown relocated to New York in 2006 and began playing solo gigs at various venues around the city. One of the venues in which he plied his trade was a coffee shop run by his sister. Fortunately for Brown the shop was frequented by Jason Swincombe, leader of British electronic jazz outfit The Cinematic Orchestra. After being suitably impressed by Brown's sparse, low-key folkish songs, Swincombe commissioned a cover of his band's song “To Build A Home”. This in turn led to Brown singing with the group on tour as well support slots performing his own material.

Four years on from that first meeting Brown is ready to release his first album on Swincombe's Motion Audio label. Predominately solo performed with just an acoustic guitar, though a plaintive harmonica appears on “Forsake”. 

Click over the jump for more on Grey Reverend's Of The Days.

Opening track “Altruistic Holiday” is a timeless classic, with deftly picked acoustic guitar providing the backing for his poetic lyrics and soothing voice. It sets the tone for the rest of the album which owes much to the 60's folk boom adventurers such as Bert Jansch, Davey Graham, and John Fahey, along with those members of 70's folk rock royalty with a fondness for alternately tuned guitars. Most notably Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. In fact the “Of The Days” would not be out of place as part of Joe Boyd's classic Witchseason catalogue, and is similar in style and spirit to John Martyn's early career classic “London Conversation”.

Close-miked and intimate, (audiophiles may want to listen out for the shouting voices or TV low in the mix at the close of “Box”), the nine songs contained here showcase Grey Reverend's idiosyncratic and inventive chord voicings and structures along with his ability as an emotive songwriter and skilful guitarist. This album is in many ways out of step with the times but is all the better for it. It stands alone and will no doubt sound as good in 20 years time as it does today.

Click here for Grey Reverend's website.