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Small-town organic farmers turned major label rock stars, Illiterate Light revel in stretching boundaries and upending expectations on their self-titled Atlantic Records debut, mixing soaring indie rock, swirling psychedelia, and atmospheric folk into a captivating blend that at once calls to mind everything from Neil Young and My Morning Jacket to Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses. Recorded with producers Adrian Olsen (Foxygen, Natalie Prass) and Vance Powell (Jack White, Kings Of Leon, Chris Stapleton), the record is blissful and ecstatic, with raw electric guitars, propulsive drums, and shimmering harmonies capturing the power of the band’s remarkable live shows, which find Jeff Gorman simultaneously playing guitar with his hands and synth bass with his feet while his musical partner, Jake Cochran, plays a standup drum kit. Hailed as “a perfect addition to your summertime playlist” by NPR, the band honed in on their distinctive sound and identity over years of relentless touring, earning dates along the way with the likes of Shakey Graves, Rayland Baxter, Mt. Joy, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Head and The Heart in addition to high-profile festival slots at Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Newport Folk, and more.
Out of the Shenandoah Valley blossoms the debut album from Dogwood Tales Too Hard To Tell. Recorded at the Fidelitorium in North Carolina (Wilco, Avett Brothers, Mandolin Orange) on 2 inch analogue tape, this organic Americana/Alt-Country record hits like a contemporary take on Neil Young's Harvest. In 2016 they released an EP and toured heavily building a strong fan base. This promising debut full-length is sure to expand on the solid foundation they've built over the past few years.
Benjamin Ryan and Kyle Grim are the duo behind Dogwood Tales. They began playing together in high school and became friends playing in pop-punk bands in bordering towns. Naturally they cultivated a more roots oriented pallet, echoing the classic sounds of their home in the Valley. Their discovery of the great country duos of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, Gram Parsons and Emmy Lou Harris and more recently Mandolin Orange gave them a broader view of the valley music they would set out to create.
The Tales' songs have a spiritual aspect that derives more from the Blue Ridge Mountains than the Church. Their lyricism grows out of a serious commitment to literature and specifically the Southern-Gothic canon. Too Hard To Tell carries the weighted stories and one-liners often found in the songs of American folk music with a special attention to tone and emotion. The songs speak of scenarios and heavy stations of life and death in small town America. There is a different aspect of time that exists in these places, a slowness yes, but also an immediate and daily reality of birth, life and death. Dogwood Tales have captured something akin to a lightning-bug in a mason jar on this ethereal and rich debut effort.