- Old Oak Tree [MP3]
- Great Awakening
- C&O Railway
DIGITAL ONLY RELEASE!
Misra Records SOUTHEAST ENGINE -- "Canaanville"
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“Canaanville, won’t you care for me / like I care for you? / you were once a little thriving town / but now you’re through”
Southeast Engine’s acclaimed 2011 release Canary was a revelatory reflection on an Appalachian family making ends meet during the our first Great Depression, with ghostly resonances to the same population’s contemporary struggles. Canary was replete with songs of joy in the face of sorrow – meditations on retaining a fleeting way of life still maintaining all of the conviction and jovial camaraderie of a rich culture proud in its traditions despite the long odds posed by a rashly remade society.
On that album, Southeast Engine’s principal singer/songwriter Adam Remnant burnished his credentials as one of our great chroniclers in song. On their new release Canaanville, Remnant continues to expand upon his panoramic exploration of tight knit communities left to wither on the vine. The four track EP is alternately tense, lilting and darkly humorous as it elucidates a teetering community of miners, farmers and rail men hurtling towards an undeserved obsolescence. “Old Oak Tree” is a rueful romance covering two generations, performed with the spirit and abandon worthy of ‘The Gilded Palace Of Sin.’ The tense, tent revival narrative ‘Great Awakening’ contextualizes spirituality amidst desperation behind a ‘Harvest’-style beat and soaring minor to major chorus. The title track marries a raucous barrelhouse feel to a fearful sentiment, suggesting an evening of escapism in the face of looming forces too malignant to fully grasp. ‘C&O Railway’ brings it all back home, telling the story of a railway worker who literally builds the tracks that robs the very town of its lifeblood, carrying away goods and citizens without supplying recompense. It is a tragic song. Complicit in the demise of his own community, the narrator seems to suggest that no one along the line knows what any of it’s worth.