Jonathan Warren & The Billygoats (from the album Cletus available on )
Cletus, the latest release from Boise, Idaho-based Jonathan Warren & The Billygoats, is a recording living in a world where Folkie twang meets Southern Gothic, an album that sounds as if it was influenced as much by Nick Cave or The Handsome Family as it was by Classic Country and murder-ballad Bluegrass. Celtus’only connection to the latter is the prominent banjo, and if lacking in traditional Bluegrass texture, it makes up for the sonic loss in subtle melody and soulful twang. Lo-fi, minimal and rough around the edges, Cletusis a soundtrack for walking in a barren forest on an overcast day.
Jonathan Warren & The Billygoats open the album with “Queen Anne Hill” and its almost spoken lyrics, a haunting foretelling of a dark album. “Salted Air” and its carefully plucked banjo, bowed bass and harmonies is an escape song, playing on the idea that any place is better than here. “If You’re Going, Go Then” is the heartbreak cut, where a woeful fiddle gives way to Jonathan Warren’s vocals singing about a lover’s “fickle heart” the narrator wants to see removed from his life, and the quicker the better.
The album closer, Sparse”, is a great reflection on the overall vibe of the album as the instrumentation and vocal delivery take the title’s suggestion. “Sparse” speaks for Cletusas its hushed yet consistent and straight-ahead melody is necessary in conveying the overall dark mood of the record. (by Bryant Liggett)
Listen and buy the music of Jonathan Warren & The Billygoats from their website