The Pines brightened the Rockwood Music Hall Stage with a simmering of fantastical folk music. Their set flowed like a river with little waves/ takes on the human spirit. Such a gift of in depth lyrics and presence is rare and needed in the music industry. Hence, this band is, ultimately, for a person who cares about the lyrics and thoughtfulness that goes into a song.
Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt are two of the most insightful lyricists you will come across in the current music world. Benson’s voice is literally the vocal twin of fellow folk artists, Damien Rice and Bob Dylan, as it resonates with a similar sound of smoothness and sage. David’s is uniquely rustic and rugged in its ability to emote a soulfulness gripping with pain. Their voices balance each other beautifully to create a “lullaby- feel” to each of their songs. Keyboardist, Alex Ramsey, helps to build the sonic world of indie soul the trio desires by softening into the almost spiritual harmonies. Together they sound like a celestial choir hymning tunes of joy and melancholy. The softness of their voices comes off like a perfect homage to the Mid-western folk scene that birthed them. As they coo over ethereal instrumentals, you cannot stop envisioning the nature and seasons of the Midwest. All this fosters The Pines’ lyrical poetry on the human soul and struggle.
The energy of The Pines is like three wise men that have taken the stage to reflect on their gained prudence. They sit in their chairs and play their instruments so crisply that it adds to the river-like feeling their set-list provides. The dimly bright lighting of the stage gave the romantic vibe that their odes deserved as they drift into the other to provide tales of human analysis. It is not easy to hold such a strong, stable presence without much movement beyond the plucking of your guitar strings. Yet, they did not need to move much as their lyrics were so powerful, many times, I caught myself transcending into their songs’ moral messages. The analogies and imagery of their songs is like entering the human heart and witnessing the vividness of its emotions. From loneliness to love, each song is a theme on vulnerability, with stories that end in either resilience or tragedy. Still, they all leave you warmed to know that that feeling you felt was also lived by another, even if in song.
I cannot emphasize the amount of peace, The Pines, gives you with their performance. They are like gentle beams of light that offer substance and motivation through their words. All The While, from their 2012 album Dark So Gold, captures every detail of longing for love to the point that it almost seems eerie how well it speaks to that feeling. Pray Tell, from their 2009 album Tremolo, literally captivates the anger and disappointment felt when your present/future seems in limbo. Luckily Aerial Ocean, from their new 2016 LP Above The Prairie, proves that the band will never falter in its eloquence and acoustic showmanship. This song is as “heart-splitting” as most of The Pines’ music in showing life’s ability to make you feel resilient while feeling remote, all at once.