*Low-fi solo outing by Americana scholar whose pedigree includes Gibson Bros. and Bassholes
Don Howland is best known for founding seminal
Our colleagues at Matador have praised the Bassholes' "fine unrefined distillations of Howland's various likes, from Skip James to disco, the Germs to Bob Dylan." The fine folks at Revenant also note that Howland's work "has consistently hewn closer to music's great primordial gloop than anyone else since Hasil Adkins." But it took some hack at the Tucson Weeklyto nail it: "Howland is a blues purist with a long list of punk-related credentials... [including writing for Village Voice, Spin, New York Rocker, and Trouser Press] his vocals possess the raw emotional depth of Rufus Thomas or Skip James, and he brandishes his six-string weapon [with] trashy exuberance... If David Johansen decided to unearth the corpse of Charley Patton and start a crude, punk-meets-Delta blues band, Howland might be elected to carry the shovel, [having been] historically aligned to the twisted and fucked up roots of Americana music." If you're still sitting there thinking, "Don Who?," it's your own damn fault, okay, igmo?
On The Land Beyond the Mountains, Howland is by himself with guitar, piano and unidentified percussive instruments. This is Howland's music how it's meant to be heard - recorded in a basement on a four-track for under fifty bucks. Darker and moodier than previous works, thanks in no small part to the covers he's chosen (Pearls Before Swine's "Sail Away," Jessie Mae Hemphill's "Cowgirl Blues," Furry Lewis's "Judge" and the Edgar Allen Poe poem "The Conqueror Worm"), Land Beyond The Mountains stands as one of his finest achievements.
click song titles for RealAudio excerpts:
1. Sail Away