Circle / Guru Femmes
Released for Record Store Day 2011.
Each artist tackles a song by the other. A familiar enough tale you may think, but these songs fall into each other in a more pleasing manner than most, creating a lyrically and musically complementary whole. Two refracted visions of the landscapes of memory and the magical characters that inhabit them. James Jackson Toth, known to the world as Wooden Wand, is a maverick, good-hearted troubadour whose blend of smoky Americana has been garnering plaudits for the last decade. Unafraid to mix psychedelic workouts with sweet and soulful country, his varied and prolific output has resulted in a wealth of lyrically rich songs; the kind whose lines stick in your head for a lifetime. Here he provides a wonderful rendition of Owen’s Circle, where Tennessee sour mash replaces real ale to create an aching slow burn of a tune. Growing up in the English suburbs, Owen Tromans led John Peel favourites San Lorenzo before following a solo path that has seen him release several acclaimed albums and tour extensively, playing with the likes of Brian Jonestown Massacre, Idlewild and Plush. Owen has also appeared on records with Devendra Banhart, Bardo Pond and Mercury Rev, most notably Chamber Music on Fire Records. The Observer singled out Owen’s contribution to the compilation for its “Steely acoustic guitar with lashings of romantic sentiment.” Owen’s version of Wooden Wand’s Guru Femmes winds Toth’s enigmatic lyrics around a lush expanse of strings and harmonies courtesy of Goldrush’s Joe Bennett.