Wooden Wand - Farmer's Corner
After the career high that was 2013's Blood Oaths of the New Blues, James Jackson Toth returns with an altogether more relaxed, open ended record. Well known in the alternative Americana scene for his obscure, prolific output, a more focused approach has been taken on his last three Fire Records releases, with each bettering what came before. Farmer's Corner is said to be the product of Toth's travels, a notion which has translated beautifully into the album's DNA. Where Blood Oaths... offered a soul searching headphone experience, this new work goes for a more liberating hit the road and drive approach. Self-produced by Toth for the first time and recorded across six sessions in four studios in three different states, the album is anything but grounded.
Lead cut 'Dambuilding' impresses with its beautifully composed acoustic and steel guitar backing to Toth's existential musings on the construction of what, can only be assumed is an emotional dam to shield sentimental loss. Opener 'Alpha Dawn' isn't quite the arresting introduction 'No Bed For Beatle Wand/Days This Long' was, but the sprawling acoustics and lyrical wit in second track 'Uneasy Peace' is a confident throw into motion. Farmer's Corner is an overall varied template of rock n' roll infused folk and gentle blues but lacks the immediacy and emotional gusto of the previous record. Mr Toth is a young, burgeoning talent with an already incredible catalogue to boast of; this is by no means a blip, but is a great record preceded by excellence.