Nathan Bowles – “The Road Reversed”

Back in 2016, we premiered Whole & Cloven, the third album by Virginia banjo balladeer Nathan Bowles, calling it “a striking collection of Appalachian folk music refracted through the lens of experimental composition” and the man himself “part of the constellation of bright young Americana stars flickering the Paradise Of Bachelors galaxy.” Today Bowles has announced the follow-up to that record.

Plainly Mistaken, out this October, marks the first time Bowles has recorded his own music with a full band — though he’s logged plenty of time in other people’s ensembles, including Steve Gunn’s backing band and the Black Twig Pickers. Other players here include bowed double bassist Casey Toll of Mount Moriah and Jake Xerxes Fussell’s band and CAVE drummer Rex McMurry.

The album is preceded today by “The Road Reversed,” a gorgeously droning 10-minute exploration that reminds us how much forward-thinking ambition Bowles brings to a typically traditionalist instrument. Not that Bowles is throwing the history of the banjo out the window; rather, he finds ways to apply classically rustic techniques to new frontiers of sound. Take a journey with it below.

01 “Now If You Remember”
02 “The Road Reversed”
03 “Umbra”
04 “Elk River Blues”
05 “Ruby/In Kind I”
06 “Girih Tiles”
07 “Fresh & Fairly So”
08 “In Kind II”
09 “Stump Sprout”

Plainly Mistaken is out 10/5 via Paradise Of Bachelors. Pre-order it from the label or elsewhere.

CREDIT: Brad Bunyea