A four piece from Michigan, Cold Tone Harvest remind one of an earlier manifestation of what we call Americana these days. Listening to their muscular amalgamation of rock rhythm with banjo, fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and pedal steel we were reminded of bands such as Granfaloon Bus, Hazeldine and even Whiskeytown who were blazing trails just before the turn of the century (writing it that way does make it seem a long time ago). Anyway, this isn’t a “country” album by any stretch of the imagination but it surely does qualify as Americana as it bops and weaves along with some mighty playing on show, the songs sometimes dusty, sometimes cold, several of them squirreling right into the brain with Random Stance the best example. A slow brooding number with grumbling guitars over gently rumbling percussion it slowly drifts from the speakers with Andrew Sigworth’s vocals summoning up a cold and forbidding picture, it’s quite wonderful.
The opening Frozen Ground is another pensive song in a similar vein to Random Stance and Healing Roots ups the tempo with the band sounding not dissimilar to the much missed Thin White Rope especially towards the end as electric guitar squeals and squalls. There’s plenty of light and shade here however as the band show they can play country tinged upbeat numbers such as Adeline and the pedal steel fuelled Daniel. After You, a eulogy for Sigworth’s late brother, is a halting number reminiscent of Smog with a sonorous cello underpinning the pathos while he wrings out a fine guitar solo towards the end. Best of all however is the magical moment when the very tender Electric Modes, a wonderful combination of weeping steel guitar and dappled mandolin, segues into a sluggish and emotive version of Neil Young’s Out On The Weekend. This knock out performance worth the price of entry on its own never mind the quality of the songs which accompany it. Highly recommended.