The often-maligned (for no good reason) banjo is an absolute star in The Rocky Coast of Maine. Paired up with acoustic guitar, it totally leads the way in terms of wistfulness and rhythm, arpeggiating away in a dream-like, spacious mix that sees vocals front and centre.
Starting with the sounds of water and gulls, the scene is set up for us quickly: ‘The fog came rolling in…’
Coming across like a baritone Bon Iver, Jeremiah Wilson spins a tragic aquatic yarn that lends itself perfectly to the backing track. The thick, gluey, double-tracked vocals do a great job of emoting the facts of the story, as our narrator wishes ‘let history be kind to me’. It’s at this moment that I was put in mind of the dynamics of Simon and Garfunkel, the imploring nature of the melody paired to searching lyrics that speak of desire, regret and a whole fist of emotional baggage that weighs down the words with meaning. The chords under the chorus are beautifully worked, complementing the plaintive theme.
Then we get a subtle, simple and sensitive harmonica solo (on single notes) that lends its mournful tone to proceedings before the chords are thrummed out on guitar in a more muscular revision of the chorus before we are led back to the more wistful conclusion.
All-in-all, The Rocky Coast of Maine is a stand-alone triumph, fulfilling its own mythology in its own run time. It’s beautifully played, beautifully told, and is a haunting testament to folk music songwriting. Lovely.
The Rocky Coast Of Maine is from the upcoming album entitled Fog Rolling In, to be released later this summer. Find & follow Jeremiah Wilson on Facebook.