Baltimore-based folk group Small Sur.
On its MySpace page, Small Sur facetiously claims its style of music falls into the reggaeton genre. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. This Baltimore-based group instead creates strikingly peaceful folk that feels as if it's sprung from the Pacific coasts of California rather than East Coast clubs.
As it turns out, when Small Sur's songwriter and vocalist Bob Keal was 19 years old, he left the South Dakota farm he was raised on for an adventure westward to California. Seven years later, Keal and his cohorts are now located in Maryland, but some of California's influence has undoubtedly stuck. The music on the Small Sur's full-length debut, We Live in Houses Made of Wood, is comprised of delicate and sparse pieces with gently strummed guitar, banjo and a dash of baritone ukulele. Its serene minimalism conjures large expanses of natural landscapes at their most beautiful, and We Live in Houses Made of Wood would be perfectly at home if played at the mountain campgrounds of Central California's Big Sur. So it seems fitting that the album's opening song, "Everyone," begins with the faint chirping of birds.
The one serious drawback to Small Sur's first full-length effort is that it'll have nature lovers bemoaning the long months until prime camping season approaches once again. But at the very least, a listen to We Live in Houses Made of Wood is sure to inject a healthy dose of West Coast sunshine into any gloomy autumn day.
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