The Bean Pickers Union
Better The Devil
added: 17 Mar 2013
// release date: 11 Mar 2013 // label: Inseam
reviewer: Andy Snipper
The broad church of Americana seems to grow ever the wider and this gorgeous album from The Bean Pickers Union encapsulates country, folk, Bluegrass and Blues but brings them into a Mexican tinged New England and stands up on its own merits.
Chuck Melchin is the core of the band and there are few writers better with a melody and even fewer that are able to tell a story and ask a question in the same breath.
The playing on the album, is excellent, id not exceptional, but the thing that takes it to your heart is the songwriting and the imagery that the words generate.
‘Magnolia’ has the feel of ‘Goldrush’ era Neil Young while ‘Burning Sky’ shimmers like the desert at midday with softly brushed drums and throbbing melody; the picked guitar line puts the location firmly in Mexico (the Spanish helps too) and I found the song utterly charming.
‘Numb’ is more of a reverie with a chilling edge to the violin playing and an eerie feeling that gets to your bones in an instant.
The album has the feel of an old country and Blues and at just over 40 minutes it would be a perfect fit for vinyl. All the songs are gems in their own right but as a whole it glistens like the tears of your mother as you leave to go to war.
The album really was not what I expected but it has grown on me very quickly and looks like taking up residence in my player for some time.
Americana at its best.
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