Exposé Online banner

Autumn Electric — Make Me a Tree
((Not on label) no#, 2012, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-07-26

Make Me a Tree Cover artI had never heard of Autumn Electric before I saw them open for Johnny Unicorn at a dive bar in Seattle. Since that time I've been metaphorically kicking myself for not paying more attention to the local music scene. What a discovery! The band is largely the vessel for Michael Trew's songs, though the band (Naomi Smith on keys, Barton McGuire on lead guitar, Daniel Desrosiers on drums) plays an essential role throughout. In the credits, producer Johnny Unicorn is thanked for "letting us 'prog out' when necessary." Unicorn also handles the bass parts on the CD — when I saw them live, Smith covered the bass parts on a keyboard, and Max Steiner (who also plays with Alex's Hand and is in Unicorn's touring band along with Smith) handled the lead guitar, so it's a cozy little Seattle scene. The sound is a kind of jangly folk-rock with noted psychedelic elements, and they're not afraid to stretch out. One of the highlights is the eight-minute "Spaghetti Western," which weaves its way through numerous sections of varying tempos and intensities, with Smith's keys playing an important role. The lead guitar parts are dextrous but unpredictable, the perfect foil for Trew's warbly voice (a bit like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes) and delicate melodies. And the backing vocals are luscious, very full and on-key without sounding too stuffy, made up of a variety of voices instead of a single voice overdubbed. Occasional guests provide strings and other nice touches. This is music to float away on, unearthly beauty grounded by earthly emotions and the flaws of real people playing real instruments with great art and little artifice. Lovely!

Filed under: New releases, 2012 releases

Related artist(s): Johnny Unicorn, Autumn Electric

Latest news

2017-02-20
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more

2017-01-31
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more

2017-01-30
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more

2017-01-27
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more

2017-01-26
Butch Trucks RIP – Butch Trucks was one of two drummers in the first incarnation of the Allman Brothers Band in 1969, helping the band achieve its legendary status as an American original. He died on January 24, 2017 of a self-inflicted gunshot would. He was 69. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Bob Lind - Elusive Butterfly - The Complete 1966 Jack Nitzsche Sessions – In the early sixties at the height of the folk boom, Denver based singer/songwriter Bob Lind was regularly working the coffee houses in the area, and later (as the local folk scene dried up) moved to...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues