SWEET BILLY PILGRIM
(2018 - Sweet Billy Pilgrim - UK)
On this 5th full length release by supreme Sweet Billy Pilgrim, beware a of a big change in sound. Also be enlightened that this new style is so tender, hefty in such a beauty of its own, and pure with delivery, that the audience will be swallowed whole by its scaled down sincerity, and soul-baring bravery. The question is, since when did any of this band's output sound the exact same as the previous one anyways? So changes are the norm for the artists at hand.
Now just a duo of guitarist/singer Tim Elsenburg, and guitarist/ singer Jana Carpenter, the delicate tunes remind one of the touching melancholy of Buddy and Julie Miller (in the country crossover field), The Oh Hellos (in the alt folk/pop arena) and musically in the playground of William Grant Conspiracy, Bonnie Prince Billy w/ Harem Scarem, and a folded spread of other influences. Don't be surprised if you hear echoes of the more sombre 80's 'Meet Danny Wilson' and even a slice of Suzanne Vega or The Innocence Mission, due to Jana's sweet voice.
The music takes you deep, like the blues, or those tearfully sad Irish aires. The weight of the writing is heavy with forethought and soul searching. The songs are in vogue with the silent majority. Tim still has the huge skill of composing a striking song. Sure this can easily go to the commercial market, but if it does (and I predict it will) then we are the winners. That dull market needs this splash of new smell, great slant, and elite chance to make a difference.'The Briar Bell' (track 6) is so beautiful you may shed tears. Jana's voice is that special. And long time fans already know the magnetic voice of Tim. 'A Shelter of Reeds' (track 7) features a string quartet, which gives off even more beauty to the platter.
Eight songs, completely given in a heartfelt state of the bare my soul spirit, in a gently wrapped blanket. Brilliant and beautiful in more ways than usual, and without doubt, this is NOT usual. On the surface it may seem so, but for the deep listeners out there like myself, it is a cherished diamond in a hill of straw. Multiple dimensions open with each additional spin. 'Wapentak' was produced and engineered by Mr. Elsenburg, and both members did all the writing and arranging. I am so glad to have found this. I have loved all the other Sweet Billy Pilgrim recordings, and I certainly love this one. A very nice gatefold physical CD package with booklet, including lyrics, credits and other details. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 2 - 2 - 2019