Red River Dialect
Tender Gold and Gentle Blue

Tracklist:

A1. For Ruth and Jane
A2. Fallen Tree
A3. Child Song
A4. Amelia
A5. Dozmary
A6. Khesed
B7. Sceillic
B8. Ring of Kerry
B9. Cavernous Calls
B10. Great Eastern Sun
B11. Bound for the Rio Grande

 

Album Info

N.B. This is a distributed import title, available on vinyl in North America exclusively from PoB, and only in extremely limited qualities (we have only a portion of a total edition of 300 LPs for sale.) 

For UK and EU orders, please order visit iTunesAmazon, or Bandcamp via Hinterground Records and Essential Distribution.

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“I came to know Red River Dialect through my travels to Cornwall, and their music has come to signify everything wild and shambolic and heartrendingly, unfairly beautiful that I understand about that coast. Theirs is a focused longing, a confusion of soul, a visionary lamentation.”

- M.C. Taylor, Hiss Golden Messenger

Red River Dialect formed in Falmouth, Cornwall, in 2009. Initially a duo, the band expanded to a five piece psych-folk-rock outfit, releasing awellupontheway in 2012. Having previously drawn comparisons to the Waterboys, Fairport Convention, Dirty Three, Arbouretum, P.G. Six and Nick Cave, the new record Tender Gold and Gentle Blue marks a departure from the swirling electrified balladry of “awellupontheway.” Listening to these new songs, all based around the acoustic guitar and vocals of songwriter David Morris, the source of the record’s title is easily discerned. Tender Gold and Gentle Blue began life as a solo recording, a document of the experience of grief in the months after the sudden loss of a parent. These simple songs were not necessarily intended for release, but as the members of Red River Dialect augmented them with cello, violin, piano, vibraphones and banjo, it became clear that this would become the new Red River Dialect record.

Every song on the record speaks of some kind of loss and of some kind of reconciliation, too. Not that losses can always be reconciled, just that these experiences can co-exist and speak to one another. The tone is open, warm, flecked with lights and shimmering. All the songs are close to bodies, either human, astral, or of water and rock. Recorded at home, sounds from the garden can be heard amidst the bright and airy atmosphere. The use of a stereo field recording microphone enfolds the feel of a cool room on quiet summer mornings. Some songs are unadorned, such as the guitar instrumentals "Child Song" and "Sceillic." The latter is named for Skellig Michael, the island 12km from the west coast of Ireland upon which early Celtic Christian monks built their beehive-shaped huts in the 7th century. These structures are visible on the album cover, a photo taken by Jack Kindred-Boothby when a few members of the band made a boat-trip and climbed the 600 steps carved into the steep cliffs. The back cover image, by Holly Jarvis, was taken on the same day.

Jack plays cello on the record too, bowing deep breaths and earthy colours. Initially a sample of the guitar on "For Ruth and Jane," his tape loop drone on "Ring of Kerry" became the vessel for a submerged chant. New member Robin Stratton plays piano on six of the songs; his bright melodies and subtle atmospherics bring out the melancholy and the joy together, hand-in-hand. Ed Sanders’ violin on "Great Eastern Sun" draws together North Indian and Celtic influences. The song also features a guest turn from Kentucky guitarist and Alan Lomax archive curator Nathan Salsburg. On the farewell song "Bound for the Rio Grande," a traditional shanty, Ed’s fiddle plays with the light over the sea. Simon Drinkwater’s cyclical banjo, particularly on "Amelia" and "Khesed," cross-pollinate the rhythms with modal notes. There is an undulating swing to the group songs, built not on percussion but bowing and picking patterns.

The band have recently shared bills with Steve Gunn, Six Organs of Admittance, Hiss Golden Messenger, Arbouretum, William Tyler, Michael Chapman, Pontiak, The Black Twig Pickers, and New Bums. They will tour in July and September in support of this record.

  • David Morris on guitars & vocals, Robin Stratton on piano, Ed Sanders on violin, Jack Kindred-Boothby on cello & tape loops, Simon Drinkwater on banjo, chanter & metalophone. Additional guitar from Nathan Salsburg on "Great Eastern Sun."
  • Available on virgin vinyl as an LP, including an immediate MP3 download of the entire album, plus a download card. You will also receive a lyric sheet insert and a 6x4 photo from the album sessions.

 

Acknowledgments

Drawing on late '60's British folk-rock and psychedelic music, this is a quiet and desperate record that is always but a squall away from breaking apart. It would all be unrelenting if Tender Gold weren't so damn pretty.

- Lars Gotrich, NPR Music

4/5 stars. Agreeably shambolic Hiss Golden Messenger-admired Falmouth folk collective led by David Morris, whose reedy vibrato chokes back sobs on evocative songs of Cornish coastal contemplation.

- MOJO

8/10. A set of acoustica driven by strummed and picked guitars shot through with cello and piano. Brave and different.

- Neil Spencer, Uncut

8/10. Inspired largely by the tragic loss of a parent, it's evident in nearly every aspect of these beautifully introspective songs that this is as much an emotional investment for him as it is for the listener. This is a beautifully composed album and one which frequently feels like a blessing that we even get to hear it at all. Nobody has to share their feelings like this but we're damn lucky that a select few do, and we should most certainly appreciate that.

- Ben Philpott, Drowned in Sound

This is a subdued, melancholy album, colored by the death of Morris’ father and unwinding in lush, ruminative, string-derived textures of bowed cello and violin, picked guitar and banjo and somber piano. It is all rather lovely in a pure, simple, clear-water kind of way, moving in its reticence and obliqueness. 

- Jennifer Kelly, Dusted

Critical acclaim for Red River Dialect and "awellupontheway":

Fervid three-guitar and fiddle workouts. You could place them as an Anglo-Celt analogue to folk-rock churners like Arbouretum and, especially, PG Six, though there’s something of The Waterboys circa “A Pagan Place” in there, too.

- John Mulvey, Uncut (also in his top records of 2012 list)

Red River Dialect are interesting in that they appear to fuse this traditional strain of inclusive, rabble-rousing folk rock with more adventurous, psychedelic influences that place them right at the genre’s cutting edge… (they) are neither bandwagon jumping dilettantes nor finger-in-the-ear luddites, but experienced musicians and long-term enthusiasts whose fusion of styles is always in service of the song… "awellupontheway" fuses folk-rock’s past with its future, carrying forward the energy, urgency and melody that has long served the form well, and merging it with the more experimental, avantgarde approach of some of our most exciting guitar bands.

- The Quietus

Some of the greatest fist-in-the-air fisherman jams since the Waterboys. Awesome stuff.

- Ben Chasny, Six Organs of Admittance

(These songs) take the lilt and roll of British sea chanties and blow them into amplified, feedback-droning, violin squalling anthems. This is, no kidding, one of the best folk-derived, psych-filtered rock albums of 2012, a great hoary rampaging beast of a record that rakes bloody, violent claws through the symmetries of traditional folk.

- Dusted Magazine

It’s heartening to see such an organic, non-trendchasing band get such a decent reception. As the record industry continues to downsize, it seems that the increased importance of the live circuit has given a fillip to bands, like this one, that can actually play.

- Bearded Magazine (live review)

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