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coverpic flag US - Nebraska - Full Moon 229 - 05/04/15

Simon Joyner
Grass, Branch & Bone
Woodsist Records

44-year-old Simon Joyner is a singer-songwriter from Omaha, Nebraska. He has recorded some 13 albums over the last couple of decades, and Grass, Branch & Bone (his thirteenth) is his first album since 2012's Ghosts (Jagjaguwar Records). Among his 'fans' we find Beck, Gillian Welch, Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes, and Joyner has collaborated with John Darnielle (of The Mountain Goats). According to Wikipedia, Joyner is known for 'the so-called Peel Incident': British DJ John Peel played his album, The Cowardly Traveller Pays His Toll (from 1994), from beginning to end on air. Peel almost never failed, right? Isn't that a fact?

With Grass, Branch & Bone Joyner presents a raw, ragged, sparse and naked collection of personal songs. Stereogum has described the album like this: 'It ambles from harvest-ready, prairie-field folk to travelin'-tune rumble'. Joyner is a poet, there's almost blood on the tracks, as he turns his soul inside out through his songs. He's said to be a low profile artist, spending most of his time with his family on his farm in his native Nebraska. He's an artist by nature, by heart and soul, not by oocupation. Joyner is named with artists like (or the same spirit as artists like) the aforementioned Darnielle, as well as Will Oldham, Peter Jefferies, Bill 'Smog' Callahan, and Alastair Galbraith. Grass, Branch & Bone has been lined up with (compared to the hum and the heart of) singers-songwriters (and their albums) like Bob Dylan (John Wesley Harding), Gene Clark (White Light), Townes Van Zandt (Our Mother the Mountain), and Leonard Cohen (Recent Songs). Not the regular party album, right. This is harsh stuff, and the songs sound indeed personal, almost private. Yet, the songs nail you and make you sit and listen, to think - and to meditate. It feels good, and I guess it's rather healthy to stop up to take a break with some songs from the country side. Have some meditative time with Grass, Branch & Bone. It'll do you good. Check out some of the spiritual songs from Joyner's barn.

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