Coming off of a sold-out release show at the Downtown Artery last weekend, Pappy LongLegs and the artist collective Native Stranger are both ready to take on the world. Expect a followup interview with these folks, because it is virtually impossible to cover everything the collective is doing AND review this album in one post.
Instead, let’s focus on AppleButter, a new record from Pappy LongLegs. When you meet the man behind the banjo, a very tall and warm presence greets you with a big smile. Rooster (another moniker) is one of the fine folk behind Cloverlick Banjo Shop, which is a location worth visiting. A lot of the music we cover has originated there.
The album AppleButter begins with a whiny harmonica pulling you out of whatever you’re doing to remind you that you need to tune into this record. To hear the subtlety of the arrangements you will need to spend some time with this record. It merits deep listening, and not because of its sheer complexity. The interplay between instruments and voice is what initially struck me, and made me listen to the album again and again.
The Good: The intentionality behind this album is one of its big strengths. In a world where we sometimes lose track of why we are producing art, every song on this album seems well thought out and planned. There really isn’t anything haphazard about it. I would say my favorite song on the album at this point is “Continuing Saga of the Classic Heartbreak or Is This My Free Oneway Ticket out of Burlington?”, or CSOTCHOITMFOTOOB for short. While perhaps not representational of the rest of the album, it has a hook that bounces around in your head for a while. The song is surprisingly intricate and has that particular flavor rarely seen since the Nixion administration.
The Bad: In the future, I would love to see Pappy LongLegs dive into more of these crazy wild arrangements incorporating other instruments and vocals, as on “Continuing Saga of the Classic Heartbreak or Is This My Free Oneway Ticket out of Burlington?”. The album is very complex, at points incorporating a typewriter to provide a backbeat; however, it was on the 4th and 5th listen that I can hear some room to push the studio production just a bit further. Of course, production is heavily dependent on money. Go buy the damn album. The vinyl version is magical.
AppleButter left me feeling a little nostalgic in a beautiful way, recalling some near-forgotten memories of summertime. I found a level of care-freeness that as adults with responsibilities and bills to pay, we often tend to forget about. Go buy AppleButter and like Pappy LongLegs on social media. We are excited to see what’s next for him.