Personnel: Benson Ramsey (vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards); David Huckfelt (vocals, acoustic guitar); Alex Ramsey (vocals, piano, keyboards); Jacob Hanson (electric guitar); Michael Rossetto (banjo); Ryan Young (fiddle); Tim Britton (flute, Uilleann pipe); James Buckley (upright bass, electric bass); JT Bates (drums).
Audio Mixer: Adam Krinsky.
Recording information: Bellows Studio, St Paul, MN; Earth Tone Studios, Iowa City, IA.
Where the Pines excel is realizing their brand of folkie Americana leans toward the textural, not song. This isn't to say their 2016 album Above the Prairie lacks in songs. They're there, often sturdy even when they're open-ended, but the charm of Above the Prairie is that it sets a mood, one that's ideal for twilight or the early hours of evening just after the sun has set. Their harmonies and acoustic guitars are offset by smears of synthesizers -- keyboards that don't play hooks but rather add space and color -- and this provides just enough of a painterly bed that the rough-hewn vocals don't feel affected, they feel like they add a bit of dirt to a record that's just on the verge of floating away. Eventually, the songs do sink in, but the reason to return to the album is its ability to conjure a specific feeling, whether it's the second the sun sets or the moment that paved highway gives way to backwoods dirt roads. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine