Sitting here in a dreary, damp and unseasonably cold UK listening back to Daniel Bachman latest album, I am struck by both how alien, but also strangely familiar, this music is. Underneath the quintessentially American country-folk picking music is a layer both of closer-to-home English folk phrasing and some more exotic eastern drone and Indian echoes of the Raga and Sarod playing.
This is not music that I know much about. Although I have a couple of sets of Daniels music, under his moniker of Sacred Harp and another with Ryley Walker (who is hard to track down) both of which I have greatly enjoyed.
Apparition at the Kenmore Plantation was an intriguing set (with its micro European release via Hands In the Dark Records ) and there was much to be enjoyed , but Oh Be Joyful feels a little less self aware somehow, playing down the droney influences to concentrate more fully on the wonderful guitar work.
Mr Bachman often gets references to Robbie Basho who I only know through reputation and swift dash through his archive, but the nods are clearly only meant to be complimentary. The steel string work is indeed very fine not least from someone so young, and rumour has it that a live show is a great thing (though sadly yet to be experienced this side of the water).
In contrast to the cemetery cover shot, the tracks are run through with the sense of joy referred to in the title of the set. The earlier tracks like White Oak with their more traditional southern flavours are thrown into relief by tracks like Sita Ram, the longest track here, coloured through with Indian accents of the raga, gentle drones and percussion.