Old Mountain Radio (2009, Magic Goat Music)
Byline: Fragile Folk songs from a bygone era.
For: Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Sam Amidon, Woody Guthrie
On a cold night circa 2007 I wandered into a coffee shop and encountered a young man in a confrontation with his guitar and his gentle, fragile voice. After cutting the show short and mumbling a heartfelt apology to the 10-15 of us there I walked back out into the biting cold and the name "Grizzly Prospector" was filed somewhere in my subconscious. Fast forward to 2009 and "Grizzly Prospector" is back in the forefront of my mind. I don't know much about Parker Yates, the man behind the grizz, but I do know there is something about his short, simple songs that grab me with a fragile, tangible grasp for the few minutes they are on. Recorded with a decided lo-fi approach, Grizzly Prospector wraps his short, sweet tunes, and his fragile yet assuringly confident voice in a thin sheen of tape hiss that sounds like an old 45 you saved from your Grandmothers estate sale. I suppose this is the aesthetic he is going for on Old Mountain Radio, tiny depression-era folk songs about love, mountain men, grizzly bears, and a kindly old narrator who introduces the album with an inexplicable cajun accent. Bookmarking each end of the album is a spoken word piece titled "Bare Hands/Bear Hands" that seems to begin and end the journey of loss, love, and discovery on this little disc that clocks in at just under 24 minutes. Stand out tracks include "Medley" and "True Love will Find You in the End" which include some of the best strummed guitars + voice I have heard all year. These two tracks are sandwiched between a handful of pretty instrumentals, short song cycles and good starts. What must have been a frustrating night two years ago has turned into a small victory for both Grizzly Prospector and Magic Goat Music who is hosting this album for free! You can't miss this opportunity to grab yourself some pure mix-tape-to-the-one-you-love gold.