D. Braxton Harris
"Deep Dark Black"
Still at work on the Quinsonic's new demos, leader D. Braxton Harris has put them aside and fashioned a quiet, transitional statement instead. As a result, "Deep Dark Black" allows some of his different influences their proper breathing room. Falling between Richard Buckner and Gillian Welch, these latest, contemplative songs feature sparse backdrops but remain firmly rooted in traditional sounds and structure.
Making the most of his freedom outside the confines of a band situation, Harris recruited many fine local players of all backgrounds, many from his home state of Alabama. Jason Ory creates texture with his pedal steel, while the banjo, fiddle, and vocal harmony of Terri McGinn and Carter Laney add a rugged Appalachian spirit that builds with great effect towards the latter songs. In addition, new Quinsonic Bo Butler provides fine guitar work throughout and contributes "Dear" anticipating the promise of the band's next record.
Though blessed with a fine voice, Harris purposely holds back. Only when he lets loose near the end of "Halogen" does the emotional tension break. Through this restraint, the songs capture a sense of uncertainty and hesitation that can overcome moments of decision. Rather than making any bold steps, Harris seems content to revel in the surrounding doubt. "Deep Dark Black" envelopes the listener like warm bed on a dreary Sunday morning inviting him to remain still, even in the specter of responsibilities lying ahead.
- Jim Markel