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Nathan Bowles, the multi-talented purveyor of cosmic Americana, has shared a rendition of “Moonshine Is The Sunshine” this morning via Noisey. It appears on his upcoming album Whole & Cloven and offers a rare chance to hear Bowles sing, which he does with gusto, accompanying himself on banjo and percussion. Whole & Cloven is Bowles’ most ambitious album yet, and is out September 2nd.
Though “Blank Range” prominently features Bowles’ voice, “Moonshine is the Sunshine” is the sole song on the album with lyrics, providing some levity in the form of absurdist, rustic koan-couplets: “My family, they’re just a tree, I’m just one of the branches/I know a man who hates to farm, but he owns a hundred ranches”; and (our favorite), “The moonshine is the sunshine, shining twenty minutes later/and ‘crocodile,’ that’s just another name for ‘alligator.’” It’s a Jeffrey Cain cover, twinning elements of two different versions: the original, from his debut For You (1970), and the version from Whispering Thunder (1972), both released on Jesse Colin Young’s Raccoon Records (briefly home to Michael Hurley, the Youngbloods, et al.)
Bowles was recently included in The Guardian’s story on the new wave of musicians flying the flag for forward-thinking Americana alongside his bandmate Steve Gunn, William Tyler and more. Likewise, The Wire just published a rave review of his album.
“His ability to combine traditional compositions with a uniquely modern sensibility has set him apart on his two solo albums to date.” – Noisey
“Fluidly melodic digressions and pungent dissonances generate a forward momentum and haunted atmosphere. Emotionally compelling statements.” – The Wire
“Nathan Bowles spends his third solo album, Whole & Cloven, splitting the difference between Jack Rose-ian acoustic romps and Henry Flynt-y drone jigs.” – NPR
“He could play forever without boring himself or anyone listening.” – Pitchfork
“Nathan’s music is marked by both his deep study of vernacular American forms and his years-long dedication to the development of his own voice. He is a musician who respects tradition as he values experimentation, an artist whose work commands careful listening. This balance is what makes Nathan’s voice singular: as a player, he is fearless, challenging. And as a listener, I am grateful and inspired.” – Steve Gunn
“Wry, sad, troubled, and mesmeric compositions imbued with a spooked and grainy Appalachian potency. Rich chaparrals of deep buzzing color you could lose yourself in forever.” – MOJO
“I have huge respect for Nathan as a musician on so many levels.” – Michael Chapman
“Nathan Bowles is like my spirit animal. It’s the real shit … beautiful then, beautiful now. Timeless.” – Kurt Vile
Nathan will be playing drums in Gunn’s band on upcoming tour dates, but also has a few of his own coming up, including a date tonight at The Pinhook in his hometown Durham, NC.
Nathan Bowles Tour Dates
August 18th – Durham, NC – The Pinhook (w/ Jackie Lynn)
August 27th – Richmond, VA – Black Iris Gallery
September 8th – Chapel Hill, NC – The Center For The American South, UNC (Whole & Cloven record release show) – FREE