Lowlights – Further/Free

Lowlights - Further/Free

Balmy and reflective tones, pastoral moods and earnest music abound on Further/Free. Lowlights use strings, pedal steel, banjo, horns, keyboards, bass, guitars and drums as colors to paint singer/songwriter Dameon Lee Waggoner’s rustic, Americana, musical canvas.

The album kicks off in stellar fashion as the short, foggy atmospherics of opener “The Lighthouse Keeper” segues beautifully into the wonderfully orchestrated “Under the Sun”. With spaghetti-western inspired guitar chords and Waggoner’s wispy but rugged voice, the track develops with an orchestral ambience and waves of horns that crash over in refreshing splendor as the song ends too soon. “Dirty Little Town” follows and starts the progression from a dusty, western Americana sound to a more stripped-down, country-ish Americana. Still a good tune with a ghostly essence and strings that sizzle like a crackling fire.

More country textures run through the remaining tracks as the album completes the transition to noir-country with strings that sound more like fiddles, playful banjo segments, and harmonica. It’s not quite the same country as in country and western, but a more wide-open, desert-like country. But with less musical ornamentation, the sparse, slower numbers lean more towards spooky folk music than typical country, and the woeful but catchy melodies add eerie resonances to make the songs sound full.

Although built with an honest and emotional grit that provides a certain warm feeling, which in turn brings a genuine and familiar quality to the music, the limited use of the rich orchestrations that made the first three tracks so alluring diminishes the appeal of Further/Free.

Recommended If You Like (RIYL): Micah P. Hinson, Castanets, Puerto Muerto and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band