The Pines are the duo of David Huckfelt and Benson Ramsey who have brought on board a selection of impressive session men for this their second album. They make heartfelt alt-folk that has an honest simplicity about it with subtle undercurrents of blues and country. It is not an album that grabs you straight away but more of a grower that takes some time to uncover its charms.
There is a melancholy feel to the whole record yet opener Pray Tell only gives this away in its lyrics as it moves from folk finger picking to slide blues in one seamless move. On Meadows Of Dawn the vibe is Americana and paints a desolate picture lyrically while the music has an ethereal feel which is quite unsettlingly beautiful.
Their versions of Spider John Koerner's The Skipper and His Wife and Mississippi John Hurt's Spike Driver Blues are both masterclasses in interpretation and perhaps even better than the originals. The album finishes on its two best tracks, the instrumental Avenue Of The Saints and Shiny Shoes. The former, clocking in at just over 2 minutes, brings to mind Bruce Springsteen at his atmospheric best while the later, the longest track on the album, is a meandering piece of folk that the likes of Neil Young does so well.
This is an album for lazy Sunday afternoons reading the papers and nursing a hangover. It is just that type of record. Is it as good as their debut record Sparrows In The Bell? Honestly... no, but that would take some doing.