Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Three Thirds' Buffalo Skinner

In February, Three Thirds released Buffalo Skinner, a tribute to Woody Guthrie. The album consists of arrangements of four songs that Woody Guthrie wrote, and a traditional song he also recorded.


Like jazz standards, an album of folk songs is all about the arrangement and ensemble. Luckily, those are the places that Three Thirds stands out. Heather Lockie and Jake Rosenzweig's strings move freely and organically between traditionalist and experimental, Claire Chenette's double reeds conjure up a sort of folksy Andy Mackay, while Alex Wand's vocals reminded me of The Microphones. The details of the close vocal harmonies add a nice Carter Family-like quality as well.

Shortly after getting Buffalo Skinner, I heard the title track on KPFK, and I would agree that it's my favorite. The ominous bowed bass and spacious, microtonal dobro give it a Morricone-like quality, revealing harmonic inflections that you may not have noticed were implicit in the melody.

Three Thirds also just started an Indie-gogo campaign to fund a new album of original songs. Check out the promo video:

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