Hiawatha Telephone Company – Harry Smith Was My Father
free album (download) self-released 2009
Listen while reading:
I really can’t stop wondering about band names (remeber Canadian Island from Germany?)…I mean, come on, who would think that you find acoustic folk behind the moniker Hiawatha Telephone Company?! As I first found Jon’s band (from Brighton, Great Britain) on MySpace I thought this is sort of a spam site or something. At the end I’m happy it didn’t blend me for I would have missed some great music. But I’m still wondering, belive me, I’m still wondering…
After yesterdays trip to the more complex realms of folk with Boca Chica’s new release Lace Up Your Workboots, it’s time to go back to the (ok, still very young) roots of this blog and have some neat stripped down acoustic folk sung by one single man playing his acoustic guitar and telling melancholic stories about live and love. And that’s exactly what Jon is doing on his first album that was released back in Mach 2009.
The album is called Harry Smith Was My Father whereas the title is a hommage to Harry Everett Smith (1923-1991) who was an American archivist, anthropologist, experimental filmaker and record collector. He is known for many things he had done and especally for releasing the self-compiled Anthology of American Folk Music in 1952 which collects important American folk, blues and country songs from 1927 to 1932 and which was very important and influential for the 1950’s and 60’s American folk music revival.
But enough for the history lesson. On Harry Smith Was My Father you find 13 tracks (written between 2002 and 2008) of pure feeling and honest singer-songwriter music. All the songs were recorded in a five hour studio session and got no over-dubs at all – you can listen to the music as it really is. There is nothing experimental, nothing progressive as you may say today. The music Jon plays is immaculate and reduced to the necessary core. For me this is the acme of intimacy in music and that’s the reason I do love it so much. His voice is clear and relatively confident. The album was mixed in the way that neither the guitar nor the voice is more present. Both are equally important and complement each other.
If you want to get your copy of the album, visit Hiawatha Telephone Company’s Last.fm site and download the whole album for free. Also check out Jon’s MySpace site and read a little bit more about his music.