Oh Brother, the opening track on Six Winters by Laurie Levine, is a sad, naked declaration of a stymied present and a mooted intent.
Laurie Levine: Six Winters (Rhythm Records)
Oh Brother, the opening track on Six Winters, is a sad, naked declaration of a stymied present and a mooted intent. “Oh, it’s a long way down/ I’ve reached rock bottom/ But I don’t know how to climb.” The following 11 songs can be listened to as the tale of a struggle out of the mire of grief and into some sort of accommodation with life. The album isn’t a narrative as such but plays as a cross-section of the bole of a weeping willow, where each song alludes to a different emotional moment, but all together signify growth.
You’ll recognise the depth and emotional range of Alison Krauss here and even the lilting playfulness of Edie Brickell. Musically, you could shoehorn Six Winters into that particular brand of new folk that’s both adult contemporary and coolly retro and that manages to sound fresh at the same time as sounding chillingly, inevitably old.
There’s a gorgeous cover of Ring of Fire, the June Carter song made famous by Johnny Cash. Its lyrics could serve as a coda for Six Winters, an album scorched by painful desire and consumed by the conflagration of love: “Love is a burning thing/ and it makes a fiery ring/ bound by wild desire/ I fell into a ring of fire.” As a work of art detailing the climb out of that fire, Six Winters is exquisitely realised.