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Allysen Callery – Ghost Folk, Review by Record Crates United

If a cool autumn breeze could sing, it would likely sound like Allysen Callery’s elegantly wistful Ghost Folk LP.

Hailing from Bristol, RI, Callery plays elemental folk music that feels alive with the landscape of rustic New England. The spirits of ancient seaside farmsteads, crumbling colonial graveyards and deserted craggy shores inhabit each song. In this way, Ghost Folk might be the most perfect American equivalent to Anne Briggs’ mythical back catalogue. Callery even plays a stirring cover of Briggs’ classic “Go Your Way,” and charges it with a strong sense of reverence and passion.

The record features almost nothing but Callery’s serene vocals and expertly delicate acoustic fingerpicking, recorded with just a slight amount of natural reverb. This arrangement and production style gives the album an intensely intimate feel, like you’re hearing all of these songs pour out within a tiny candlelit cabin somewhere. This sound is certainly reminiscent of the likes of Jackson C. Frank, Shirley Collins and Bert Jansch, but it also conjures up the atmospheric recordings of Maine folksinger, Gordon Bok.

Yet, there are a few instances of Callery being accompanied by an electric guitar, provided by producer Myles Baer, which is played in a ringing shimmery kind of way, making it almost sound like a hammered dulcimer. This adds an ethereal dreamlike quality to the songs, making them sound like something that could have easily appeared on an album by Trees or Bridget St. John.

Elsewhere on the record, the specter of Nick Drake looms near on the haunting “November Man,” and there’s a healthy amount of Sandy Denny echoing within the bluesy “Our Lady of The Highway”. Yet, no matter what shade of influence or inspiration appears throughout the LP, Callery’s distinctive personal voice and style always shines through her music. This is the sign of a true and highly skilled artist. Do not underestimate her abilities.

Fans of the British folk revival of the ’60s and ’70s would simply adore this record, as would anyone who appreciates the melancholia of a grey New England autumn day. Click here to get your copy of this beautiful album on vinyl, CD or digital today.

-KH

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