Red River Dialect

Abundance Welcoming Ghosts

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Ascending from the ruminative coastal trail of 2018's excellent Broken Stay Open Sky, Cornish folk-rock combo Red River Dialect ramble further inland and up the mountainside of their fifth LP, Abundance Welcoming Ghosts. Helmed by Welsh singer, guitarist, and philosophical wordsmith David Morris, the group has enjoyed critical success and an increased profile over the past few years, thanks to a pair of albums that chronicle its leader's ongoing transformation following the untimely death of his father. The fragile grief-stricken meditations of 2015's sparsely arranged Tender Gold & Gentle Blue gave way to the sun-dappled melancholia of its aforementioned follow-up as Morris and his bandmates grew together in spirit and musical intuition. Written in the spring of 2018 and recorded together in a four-day burst later that August, Abundance feels very much like a continuation of Morris' ever-evolving personal narrative. His sense of longing, his reverence for nature, and the thoughtful mapping of inner and outer geographies remain the hallmarks of his writing, which he delivers here with the focused intensity of a spiritual seeker. A bristling energy underpins the opener, "Blue Sparks," as the sextet flexes their communal might, riffing with organic lucidity like some Albionic jam band sprung from the fertile peat bogs. Backed by the dulcet harmonies of American singer and former tourmate Joan Shelley, "Snowdon" frames Morris' still-present sorrow as a summit to be reached, exalting of its mountain namesake "this is the closest point to Wales in heaven, the closest point to heaven in Wales... I will meet you again when the two are the same." As Morris anthropologizes his band's namesake in the dark, snaky "Red River," guitarist Simon Drinkwater weaves an eerie spell intermingled with skirls from Ed Sanders' fiddle. Although written prior to the nine-month Buddhist meditation retreat that he underwent shortly after these recordings took place, Morris' search for a quieter mind is already apparent on the gently paced "Slow Rush." Neither as endearingly fragile nor as transcendently healing as his previous two volumes, Abundance is nonetheless a fulfilling and soulful work, worthy of the Red River Dialect canon.

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