Friday, August 12, 2011

Recommended Listening - Balto

So here's a little story.

Last week Curtis and I were standing in line for the Bon Iver show. Chatting and shifting restlessly on our already-tired feet. When we still had about an hour to wait I jumped out of line to use the bathroom in the HoB restaurant. When I got back, of course, Curtis was talking to the people in line behind us. Sam and Tess were super nice and really excited for the show. We talked about music and specifically folky music (Curtis told them about Horse Feathers and the two of us gushed about them for a little while). THEN...

Sam told us about a friend (or friend-of-a-friend?) of his that just happen to be playing 'next week' at LilyPad in Inman Square in Somerville. He described this friend, Daniel Sheron, taking the Trans Siberian Railway, having an adventure and riding the fabled rails - and writing songs. The resulting project is under the band name Balto. (To remember to look into it I emailed Curtis from my phone as we were standing there. The email says "Balto - Lilypad Aug 12th? -Trans Siberian folk?)

Well of course I forgot about it until just yesterday. We can't find a listing for the show online (though he's playing in NYC tomorrow?) but Curtis did find the entire album, October Road, streaming on Bandcamp. (See below)

It's much different than I was expecting. The Railyard opens the album perfectly and THAT'S what I expected. The rest is beautiful too but I don't hear Siberia in most of it. Don't get me wrong, that's ok! It's folky and heartfelt and occasionally bluegrass-y and I really love it. The album description (see below) does emphasize that it's about the people Sheron met while on this trek. Elizabeth the Bumblebee and Don Quixote are two of my other favorites. (And I'm sure more will emerge as I keep listening.)

Have a listen and let me know what you think.
I'll be sad if we don't get to see them tonight (maybe this show is completely imaginary) but I'm glad that we got the tip while waiting in that Bon Iver line. It pays in more ways than one to get to shows early!

Happy weekend,

p.s. I'm sure I'll never see or speak to Sam or Tess again but THANK YOU for sharing this with us!

EDITED TO ADD: I just got an email back from Lilypad - he IS playing tonight!

From the Balto Bandcamp website:
"Balto came into being when Daniel Sheron abandoned his life in Moscow, Russia and went alone into Siberia. Against an ever shifting backdrop of railways and desolate wastes, he wrote a cycle of songs to tell the story of what had happened in that strange country, why he had exiled himself, and why he thought it mattered. In train cars and crumbling cities he encountered PEOPLE, and they inhabited the songs he was writing and the notes he was taking. In the fall, Daniel brought Balto back to America and called his friends to record an album in one day. On December 15, 2010, six people entered a basement in Brooklyn, New York and emerged that night with an album that no one had expected. October's Road."

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