Music has the magical powers of making you feel things. It can make you energetic, euphoric, sad, or even loved or hurt. But one of the hardest things for a musician to do is to make the listener feel comforted.
On this brilliant little album from Californians Eric Anders and Mark O’bitz, this gigantic task was tackled. And the result is one of the warmest and sweetest albums of American folk that I’ve ever heard.
The album consists of nine songs carrying a great depth to the words and to sounds. Entirely built by warm acoustic instrumentation, the album starts off with the heartbreaking ‘One Life’. This radiant single is a song I’d loop for an hour. With dense reverb, a minimal arrangement of a finger-picked guitar, atmospheric, droning strings, and an emotive vocal delivery of a gentle melody. The best is usually saved for last, but here, it was put at the forefront. Next up is the intriguing ‘Not at One’. largely establishing the mood that’ll persist over the remainder of the album. Introducing banjos, and mandolins and featuring a confusing chord progression that toys with the minor and major tonalities expertly to create a mood that sets you off and grabs your attention. ‘Family Song’ is a sweet Americana tune about welcoming a newborn into the world, and yes, the music is as sweet as the premise.
The remainder of the album stays largely on those same tracks, channeling Bear’s Den and Dawes’ music while adding a personal twist on it in the form of the unique vocal timbre of Mark O’Bitz. Particularly noticeable is ‘Above Below’ which introduces parlor-style strings that introduce an all-new air of culture to the music. ‘Down the Southbound’ is also noticeable. With intricately twisting rhythms that put you off balance without being disruptive. It’s a very sad song with a beautiful string arrangement and equally beautiful melodies. On ‘Young Eyes’ you can easily mistake the singing to that of Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes. The delivery, melodies, and the way the words are arranged is strongly reminiscent of Dawes and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they were a direct influence on this particular song.
A gentle album of gentle music to be enjoyed on a gentle day. Another fine addition to the catalog of those refined songwriters that’s sure worth a listen from any Folk or Americana lovers.