2018Mary Lattimore w/ Nathan Bowles Trio
DecemberDoors 8pm, Show 9pm - $10adv/ $12
Mary has also recorded synth + harp duo projects with Elysse Thebner Miller (And the Birds Flew Overhead) and Jeff Zeigler (Slant of Light) and has co-written reimagined scores for the 1968 experimental silent film Le Revelateur, directed by Philippe Garrel (who approved of the project), and the Czech New Wave classic Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, and performed these scores live throughout the US with Jeff Zeigler and the Valerie Project, respectively. She has contributed and written harp parts for such artists as Kurt Vile, Thurston Moore, Sharon Van Etten, Meg Baird, Steve Gunn, the Clientele, Hop Along, Jarvis Cocker, Karen Elson, Ed Askew and Quilt.
He and his bandmates in the popular and critically acclaimed old-time group the Black Twig Pickers steep themselves in local traditions of Appalachian folk music and dance, very much a vital part of cultural life in their region of Virginia. As a member of the long-running improvisational drone outfit Pelt, Bowles focuses on the various sonic possibilities inherent in struck and bowed percussion—metal, wood, skin, or otherwise. When playing by his lonesome under his birthname, he prefers either minimal and hyper-nuanced percussive drone or tranced-out solo clawhammer banjo. Bowles has also recorded, collaborated, and performed with Steve Gunn, Jack Rose, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jake Xerxes Fussell, Rosali, Black Dirt Oak, Scott Verrastro, Pigeons, Spiral Joy Band, and others.
The seven songs on his second solo album Nansemond deploy banjo, percussion, piano, tapes, and—for the first time—his robust voice, moving effortlessly between composed sections, improvised passages, and field recordings. The Nansemond suite demonstrates the elasticity of Appalachian and Piedmont stringband music and the inherent connections, when those forms are distended, dilated, and dissected—as in the “Sleepy Lake” pieces, “Chuckatuck,” or “Golden Floaters/Hog Jank”—to contemporary improvised and post-minimalist avant-garde music. Bowles’ inventive playing on the album somehow finds common ground between tradition-bearing masters like Dock Boggs, Dink Roberts, and Etta Baker and the outré compositional experiments and extended techniques of Paul Metzger and Clive Palmer. But these two strains always feel purposefully and organically integrated, not distinct or hierarchical, and that elegant and novel elision is perhaps the most notable accomplishment of these hypnotic recordings: they respectfully refuse to accept the porous boundaries between Southern vernacular music and modernism.
On his exquisite third solo album, Bowles again augments his mesmeric clawhammer banjo pieces with piano, percussion, and vocals. Instead of the programmatic place-based narratives of its predecessor, Whole & Cloven offers a stoic meditation on absence, loss, and fragmentation, populating those experiential gaps—the weighty interstices and places in-between—with stillness and wonder. Straddling Appalachian string band music and avant-garde composition but beholden to neither idiom, Nathan proves himself heir to deconstructivist tradition-bearers like Henry Flynt and Jack Rose.
On his playfully subversive fourth solo album Plainly Mistaken, Bowles extends his acclaimed banjo and percussion practice into the full-band realm for the first time, showcasing both delicate solo meditations and smoldering, swinging ensemble explorations featuring Casey Toll (Jake Xerxes Fussell, Mt. Moriah) on double bass and Rex McMurry (CAVE) on drums. As he considers the cycles of deceit and self-deception that shape both our personal and political lives, a mixed mood of melancholy and merriment permeates Bowles’s own compositions as well as the interpretive material, which draws from traditional Appalachian repertoires and the diverse songbooks of Julie Tippetts, Cousin Emmy, and Silver Apples.