The first live recording from the long-running Stone Breath, The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag, is both a great live, and intimate, document and a thoroughly rich one. On many levels. If you’re new to Stone Breath like me, they trade in a macabre and melancholy tinged folk, steeped in musical, as well as storytelling, tradition. I have to admit that it’s a field I’m not overly familiar with, but that doesn’t—and shouldn’t—make the record any less engaging to the uninitiated, and given the aura they conjure up, entrancing. Whether it’s in the versatile and complex songs and execution, the ghostly narratives or the setting they create, Stone Breath shape a world that strikes a chord that you feel more than you might actually know. Titles with signposts of hooves, soldiers, crows, skeletons and, unsurprisingly, psalms (that’s how their Earthy and otherworldly glimpses come across) shape-shift into blazes on a trail through a timeless path. These aren’t so much snippets or snapshots of a specific moment, but rather strands in on ongoing weave, a ride that stretches as far back as it will snake into the future. In a sense, and in the senses, that makes their wares elemental. And in true bewitching fashion, the more primary it gets the more sprawling it becomes. That’s not something at odds with itself or in contradiction, that’s simply how things are, and Stone Breath know it and can make it take ethereal form. You may not be able to get your fingers firmly around it, but you can chase after and grasp at it. Getting a grip on it and holding it tight isn’t the point or purpose…or as we hear all the time, the journey is the destination. Through their molding and folding of those elusive strands, The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag not only becomes a very human album, but also a commentary—one that’s been and being told—on the human condition. Timothy Renner, Brooke Elizabeth and Carin Wagner Sloan’s vocals play off and compliment each other while giving their songs of ‘ghosts and the green wood’ a unified voice. One made up of much more than just three, including Don Belch’s crucial lead work. Stone Breath offer both an archive of their performance at State College, PA as well a chronicle of places familiar, unfamiliar and the blurry point where they both converge as well as take separate.
Where the Crows Go :: Stone Breath :: The Snow-White Ghost-White Stag (2012, Deep Water Acres)
"This show is 110% … one of the most consistently awesome programs we have come across."
The Sunrise Ocean Bender sets sail every Monday morning, 1 – 3 a.m. on WRIR lp 97.3 FM, to find something for your ears, and something for your head … From psych to prog to pop and whatever tributary we can find on the way … and right back around again. There might be a map, but the destination is up for grabs. If it all goes right, we may just get lost. Meet me at the muster station … it might be a long week.