Birch Book — Vol. II: Fortune & Folly
(Helmet Room Recordings no#, 2006, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-01-01Birch Book is in reality singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael B'eirth (also known as B'ee), a rising star in the acid-folk and psych-folk scene. Fortune & Folly breaks down into two halves, the first addressing the fickle nature of fate and the second investigating life's journeys, both topics forever confronting the wandering minstrel, which B'ee sees himself as in a modern context. There's a sense of authenticity to his songwriting and delivery that evokes giants of the elder days including Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. The cover art and B'ee's presentation as the wandering troubadour take the listener further back to medieval times, which are subtly invoked in songs such as "Zephyr through Willows" and "The Carnival Is Empty." The instrumental "Diaspora" and the opener "Birch Sap" even dip into psychedelic realms via ghostly guitar drones and ethereal, wordless chants, which work their way on a smaller scale into other songs like "The Trip Goes On." Otherwise we're in pure acoustic folk territory and it's easy to picture B'ee huddled over an acoustic guitar, perched on a stool and leaning his face toward a microphone in a small bookstore somewhere in rural Vermont, spinning out his songs to a gathering of tea sipping folkies. With songs this "wooden" it's not surprising when his voice slips into a warm country twang, though otherwise his soft and gentle singing rarely rises above hushed recitation. This is an impressive and enjoyable cycle of songs, as long as one can stomach the occasional psych flavoring.
Related artist(s): Birch Book
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more