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Fellow PyninsFellow Pynins
Album: Hunter & The Hunted
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 10

Fellow Pynins is the duo of Dani Aubert and Ian Van Ornum who've emerged from the six piece Oregon based folk orchestra Patch Sanders. Between them they cover a range of instrumentation which is pure old tyme country blues; mandolin, hurdy gurdy, bouzouki and banjo with the intriguing bonus of Dani's highly original sounding 'voice sung into a banjo' - not something you see or hear every day.

Recorded live in a little earthen backyard hut in Ashland, Oregon, the atmosphere drips through. The songs aren't written, they're crafted. If you didn't know, you'd not be far off making a decent guess that this is a very organic and natural set of songs. Imagine the scene - sitting (or even sittin') on the porch, probably on a rustic wooden rocking chair, swaying softly and picking out percussive twangs in the late golden glow of the evening sun. A sunset the same colour as on the ochre hue album cover, minus the demonic looking horn blowing deer. Possibly the subject of the album title or even the opening song, 'The Wild & The Untamed'; more likely the former as the narrative of the latter explores the childlike relationship between the wild and the untamed of the title.

Childhood memories, dreams of death and even shepherding in 'My Adventures With Jack As Sheepherders' are all played out by the breathy harmonies of the duo. While 'Henny's Got Freckles In The Summertime' shows off an impressive virtuosity, the oft maligned banjo plucking gets a break as 'Dear Ones' drop the percussive stream and makes the most of the 'singing into a banjo' technique alongside a resonating hurdy gurdy drone. A haunting performance which stands not so much as the centrepiece of the album, but one which stands out as something both different and unexpected. The combo of 'A Covered Tower Ivy Hid' and 'May Tree Arch' close the album in darker (and banjo free) fashion and allow the Pynins to show that there's more to their repertoire than you might guess. What is apparent throughout though is the intimate and refined nature of the writing and delivery which captures a strongly organic vibe.

Mike Ainscoe