We’re delighted to welcome our friend and comrade Nathan Bowles to the PoB fold. His stunning new record Nansemond, which will see release on November 18, is the perfect autumnal elixir and an apposite follow-up to Steve Gunn‘s Way Out Weather, on which Nathan plays prominently (and beautifully). It’s also, in our estimation, one of the best sounding and most sonically immersive albums thus far in the PoB catalog. But don’t take our word for it–read on for heady endorsements from the likes of Kurt Vile and Glenn Jones, or heed the critical assessment of the fine folks at NPR Music, who just premiered single “Chuckatuck,” featuring Tom Carter on guitar:
“Built on a hypnotic banjo melody that drones more like a sitar than something out of Appalachia, “Chuckatuck” sounds like something recorded in a bunker and long since forgotten. There are muffled shuffles throughout, as if a woodland creature overhead had become irresistibly drawn to the percussive plucks and Carter’s acoustic arpeggios. For the coda, Carter switches to the electric guitar for a regal solo that belongs more to the wandering English countryside (think Richard Thompson, then put some burn on it) than to the tidewater.”
A cinematic suite of contemplative, elastic set pieces that conjures the titular Virginian river/tribe/extinct county, Nansemond, the second solo album by multi-instrumentalist Bowles, deploys banjo, percussion, piano, and voice to explore the rugged country between the poles of Appalachian old-time traditions and ecstatic, minimalist drone. This forking-path approach follows his wide-ranging work as an ensemble player with the Black Twig Pickers (banjo, percussion), Pelt (struck and bowed percussion), Steve Gunn (drums, piano, banjo), Hiss Golden Messenger (banjo), Jack Rose, and others.
The deluxe LP, pressed on 150g virgin vinyl, features a handsome heavy-duty board jacket, full color double-sided insert, and download coupon; the CD is housed in a gatefold jacket. Pre-orders come with an immediate 320k MP3 download of the first single, “Chuckatuck,” which you can listen to here thanks to the good people at NPR’s All Songs Considered. All pre-order customers will be entered in a drawing for a PoB t-shirt.
We hope to ship all physical pre-orders at least a week prior to the November 18 release date, contingent on pressing plant schedules.
Pre-Order the LP ($18), CD ($13), or both ($25) from PoB
Praise for Nathan Bowles:
– Nathan Bowles is like my spirit animal. It’s the real shit … beautiful then, beautiful now. Timeless. He’s got the modern edge too, and the experimentalism thing down, and it sounds totally modern as well. That’s why it’s so great. – Kurt Vile
– Mesmerizing! His writing is exploratory and always soulful; his playing sure-footed and hypnotic. One of my favorite musicians playing today. – Glenn Jones
– Inventive, distinctive, tuneful. In a world with too many solo guitar players, Bowles shows the banjo to be a valid riposte. – The Wire
– Zoned hillbilly vectors that reconcile the lyricism of John Fahey with the personal apocalyptic of Dock Boggs and the eternal music stylings of Henry Flynt and Paul Metzger. A dazzling tour de force of the instrument by one of its boldest contemporary re-inventors. – David Keenan
– Singing melodies loom out of the ringing, rhythmic patterns like a tall fir tree emerging from the forest and the fog. This guy is playing music to make you feel, not licks to make you cheer. – Signal to Noise
*Speaking of Steve Gunn, be sure to catch Steve and Nathan on tour now. All the upcoming US shows feature Nathan Bowles on drums!
Are you up to date on PoB releases? Check out Gunn’s forthcoming release Way Out Weather (October 7), as well as our most recent reissues–Lavender Country‘s self-titled 1973 album and Mike Cooper‘s Trout Steel and Places I Know/The Machine Gun Co.–all three of which earned Pitchfork’s Best New Reissue rating, among other accolades. Many thanks for your support.