Audio Mixer: Brad Bivens.
Photographer: Gill Landry.
Singer, songwriter, and curator of vintage Americana, Gill Landry has taken the Delta Land mystique of his native Louisiana with him throughout all of his travels. From his early jug band days in the Pacific Northwest to his later pursuits as a member of Nashville revivalists Old Crow Medicine Show, the humidity has followed from project to project, occasionally threatening to consume his identity. The two solo records he issued in 2007 and 2011 featured some strong material, but often felt a little too persona-heavy, like they were made by some sort of swampland/dust-bowl character who'd drifted in out of an old photo. There's a fine line between finding influence in the past and inhabiting it, but fortunately Landry has struck the right balance on his excellent self-titled third LP. Largely home-recorded at his Nashville apartment and hosting a variety of friends acquired through his many tours, everything about this album feels more understated and natural than his previous output. Worldweary and compassionate, the ten songs here still use the South as a sort of general sonic backdrop, but the sound is largely more rooted in light rock and country traditions. Standouts like the lead single "Just Like You" and the austere horn- (courtesy of Mumford & Sons' Nick Etwell) and string-laden "Lost Love" leave their warm imprint suggesting wide-open vistas and dusky two-lane roads where the ghosts of missed chances pepper the air with late summer melancholia. Landry's arrangements have also become more ambitious as evidenced on the mystical piano-pop midsection of the beguiling Laura Marling-assisted "Take This Body." Subtle, compellingly human, and bittersweet, this is easily Landry's best work. ~ Timothy Monger