Wes Tirey / Andrew Weathers: Split
Scissor Tail Records

This forty-three-minute split release on Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Scissor Tail Records by Wes Tirey and Andrew Weathers makes for an interesting study in comparison, especially when Tirey's two pieces are in the country folk-blues tradition and Weathers' single long-form setting extends the folk sound into drone-styled territory.

The very titles of Tirey's pieces—“My Grandfather's 12 Gauge” and “Requiem for Pistol Pete Maravich”—suggest strong ties to country folk-blues, something evidenced by his breezy finger-picking the moment the first piece begins kicking up dust. In weaving together multiple layers of acoustic guitar playing, Tirey builds up a dense wall-of-sound during the opening track's eleven-minute run and keeps things interesting by alternating between restful and uptempo passages. The faint trace of a distant locomotive inaugurates “Requiem for Pistol Pete Maravich,” which Tirey then takes up with sunny picking delivered at the pace of a relaxed gallop and with low-slung accents thrown in for good measure. As with the first piece, his second moves through a number of episodes, some delivered at a rapid pace and others slower and wistful by comparison. One comes away from his pieces thinking of Tirey as a story-teller, albeit one sharing his sagas using instrumental means.

As if to immediately accentuate the contrast between their respective contributions, Weathers, hailing from North Carolina, opens his twenty-minute “Stay 100” with a synthesizer-generated drone and only brings guitar into it as the two-minute mark approaches. Unlike Tirey's pieces, Weathers' largely hews to a single mood, one whose peaceful character encourages reflection on the listener's part. He also plays electric guitar on the piece, a move that gives it a different quality by downplaying the folk association of the acoustic. Peaceful it might be, but “Stay 100” isn't devoid of activity, as Weathers amps up the intensity by overlaying the droning undercurrent with an intricate web of strums, bass tones, and country-tinged picking. As different as the contributions by Tirey and Weathers are on this fine gathering, they're not worlds apart either, as a raw drone can be heard twanging through the background of “My Grandfather's 12 Gauge.”

August-September 2014