Immediate download of 12-track album in the high-quality format of your choice (MP3, FLAC, and more), plus unlimited mobile access using the free Bandcamp listening app.
Friend is only released physically on vinyl. Limited edition of 300. Comes with a download card.
ships out within 7 days
edition of 300
My good friend Elam Blackman dropped in from cyberspace the other day. It’d been a while, so he couldn’t have known that I was living in a country of sadness, my dear mother having died but two days since. Elam hailed me with that lovely, summer’s-evening, fireflies-in-the-clearing kind way he has about him, and he asked me if I wouldn’t mind waxing a bit for the purposes of an album cover—the very one, in fact, that you’re now clutching in your covetous paws. When he got wind of my circs, Elam offered to dig
up another sap for the task, but I wouldn’t hear of it. I readily accepted the honor. But bidding my darling Ma farewell naturally pushed everything else aside for a time. When I’d finally delivered the last of my clan
to their respective departure gates I was in what you might call a fragile state. I shut the driver’s side door and the lonely sound echoed through the short-term parking deck. I’d been tending to Ma during the last years of her decline, and I wasn’t looking forward to seeing her recliner sitting empty when I got home. The
drive south on I-91 had been a dreary one, and I was hoping the fog would lift. I took a deep breath, jockeyed up Elam’s new record, and turned over the ignition. The first train-track-clickity-clack bars of Railroad Folk kicked in, and then Elam’s thoughtful crooning: “Border town...we are leanin’ against trees...” I smiled. A few bars later, to my delight, a lap-steel
floated in on the whistle of a night train. The mindset of my journey ahead was being jostled out of its rut by my friend’s familiar voice.
I’ve long admired Elam’s talents. He has the quality of a mythical creature—a woodland spirit perhaps—whose job it is to go about catching lyrical fragments in a butterfly net. This would explain Elam’s peripheral vision, which I’ve often marveled at being the best around. I mean this figuratively, as I have no idea how he fares at the optometrist’s – all I know is he has magic eyes, blinking his way from Boston to Texas, then Knoxville, everywhere catching the images that will find their way into his songs.
Friend marks Elam’s arrival into maturity. From the wistful, sparse clarity of It Ain’t No Thing to the guttural thrum of the rhythmic The Murder Rides Again, the cuts on this disk are equal parts sky and earth, flight and furrow. In all this, Elam has found a fine collaborator in Paul Curreri whose “everything else” is done with the refined judgment of a first class accompanist. Curreri is a kind of clothesline where Elam hangs out his tattered linens and holy jeans. The wind comes up and they dance, and they are beautiful without even trying to be. Something in Caroline (the red PJ’s or the bent down grass?) released me. Something in the clarity of Elam’s lilt let me in on the sweet suspicion that it—the whole thing—must really be about love after all. The sun began clearing the fog and I relaxed, aware that
there was a way out of the country of grief.
~Mark Small Mountain
released 01 June 2011
Elam Blackman: voice, acoustic guitar, banjo (Been Had)
Paul Curreri: Everything Else
Devon Sproule: backing vocals
Produced/ Recorded by Paul Curreri
Mastered by Jeff Romano and Mr. Toads
Photography: Shawn Poynter
Layout: Jessica Gosney
Thanks to all those who supported me on kickstarter and long before such things were necessary.
All songs written by Elam Blackman
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