Picture a moonlit sky on one of those early days of fall when summer like weather takes an unseasonable but welcomed encore to remind you that the warmer weather will be back full time before too long. One of those wonderful fall nights when the sun’s warming rays leaves behind just enough heat where a campfire and your favorite flannel shirt feels pretty darn good as you visit with friends one more time under that wide open sky knowing the before too long winter’s chill will drive us indoors for a while.
Somehow, under those high skies and wide-open spaces the world seems a bit smaller too as friends gather to enjoy each other’s company.
That’s how Harmonic Dirt always makes me feel. Like being under the stars passing a guitar around telling stories. The warmth of Mike Gridley’s voice singing the poetic verse of bassist Susan Coleman, when coupled with Taylor Bucci’s harmony and the driving, gentle but solid rhythm of James DaRin make any open space they happen to be playing in an intimate space, be it a festival, a state fair, or even just busking on Walton Street. Harmonic Dirt creates that warm, organic intimacy like few others.
Blame the Horizon, Harmonic Dirt’s gloriously low tech EP, recorded live in DaRin’s living room around a single microphone creates an intimacy and a unique presence that a room full of faders and knobs could never do. That intimacy is never more evident than in this collection of road songs, songs about moving out toward the horizon into the unknown future.
As always with Harmonic Dirt, it’s all about the songs and the 6 included here are each of the same high quality we’ve come to expect from the Syracuse based Americana/Folk Rock foursome over the years. “Caravan of Silver Cars” is a classic road song that paints its picture under wide open skies and miles of road. The title track is an introspective lament that evokes imagery around the inevitability of life’s bumps and little defeats of character along the way. The recording features some great playing by all four players especially the brush work of James DaRin driving the song forward like a freight train. Some excellent guitar playing on this track as well. The song is like a 6-minute drama taking place in an old home at the end of a desolate road. This is one of my favorites.
Perhaps the “single” of the EP would be “Passport”, already a live show favorite, a song about the mediative aspects of travel, the need to get away from oneself to find oneself. With a sing along chorus “Passport” has quickly become one of my favorites in the Harmonic Dirt catalog.Harmonic Dirt is one of those bands that always beings a smile to my face and was the first band I returned to after a year without live music. The warmth of the music created by these four players, even when singing about the cold open road heading for an unknown horizon, creates a glow that outshines any campfire. Blame the Horizon is the perfect organic document of the magic this band creates.