Legacy Chicago craftsman Mark Nelson shares a new track “Shenandoah” from the latest Pan•American offering A Son, which is to be released on the 8th November via kranky.
Speaking about “Shenandoah” Nelson says:
“I started playing this song in the days after the murder of Heather Heyer. She was killed on August 12, 2017 while protesting the white supremacist/neo-Nazi rally in her hometown, Charlottesville VA. It is intended as a tribute to the hero she was and a requiem for the person she was not permitted to become. Shenandoah is a traditional song surrounded with suggestion but without clear roots. It is a vivid shard of the shared memoryspace and dreamscape of America. Please visit and support https://www.
The album from which “Shenandoah” is lifted from is less a distillation or divergence than it is a return to his musical and spiritual beginnings. Spare, subdued, and largely acoustic, A Son unfurls like late summer dusk on the edge of town, expansive but intimate.
Motivated by notions of “moving backward” and tracing roots – as well as a couple years of hammered dulcimer lessons – the album’s nine songs were written and recorded in his home in Evanston, Illinois, and honed during a recent solo tour in Europe. The emphasis on uncluttered arrangements and the centrality of the guitar and vocals reveal these songs as the most direct and emotional statement of his career. Nelson cites everything from June Tabor, The Carter Family, Suicide and Jimmy Reed as oblique inspirations, though his truest muse was creative self-inquiry: “What does music do, Where does music start? How simple can it be? How honest can it be?”
After decades of mining post-rock pathways and latticework electronics in Labradford and early Pan•American, A Son strips away ornament and distraction in favor of a direct gaze into the heart of what is.
1. Ivory Joe Hunter, Little Walter
2. Memphis Helena
3. Sleepwalk Guitars
5. Dark Birds Empty Fields
6. Drunk Father
7. Muriel Spark
8. Kept Quiet