The Low Anthem: A Tender Stunner

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Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "To Ohio"
  • Artist: The Low Anthem
  • CD: Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
  • Genre: Americana
The Low Anthem 300

"To Ohio" showcases The Low Anthem's soft and tender side, but there's more to it than just sweet elegance. courtesy of the artist hide caption

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The Low Anthem's slow-moving, nostalgic "To Ohio" is about leaving a city (and a lover) behind, with Ben Knox Miller lamenting that "once you've known love, you don't know how to find love." But there's an underpinning of hope and optimism to the band's tender stunner, even as Miller stares down the possibility of disappointment.

The group began in 2006 as a collaboration between Miller — a folk musician, poet and visual artist from New York's Hudson River Valley — and Jeff Prystowsky, a jazz bassist and baseball scholar from New Jersey. The two have long bonded over summer baseball leagues and a common interest in Americana, but also began collaborating with classical composer Jocie Adams for The Low Anthem's new album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin.

At times languid and haunting, but with detours into Tom Waits-esque stomping and hollering, The Low Anthem's music seems equally informed by Simon & Garfunkel, Bob Dylan, The Band and a late-night ride home in Joni Mitchell's car. "To Ohio" showcases the group's soft and tender side, but there's more to it than just sweet elegance. Like fellow new-acoustic greats — Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper, et al — The Low Anthem has created something strange, beautiful and new.

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