The folky, homespun, guitar-picking improvisational style of the North Carolinian hills is now the sound of … Oakland, California? Yes, you read that right. Andrew Weathers has relocated, although his sound hasn’t yet changed to reflect the culture of Raiders and riots. We Don’t Have Sun Like This is a message from one Andrew to another, from the wide open spaces to the shaded woods. The disc is the accompaniment to a 30-page book of photographs documenting the distance and the new views. While one would expect sadness, there’s little to be found here; instead, the overall tone is wistful and occasionally celebratory.
Plant the ears next to a speaker and one can hear the sound of trains passing in the night, a throwback to quieter times in a more peaceful environment. Yet one carries one’s own peace like a backpack; peace is not something a locale can grant or automatically remove. Weathers wears his peace with calm intent, and his friendships keep it from fraying. This interstate collaboration with Marino is a sign that all remains well in the artist’s emotional world. ”Standing on the Seam of Spring” features the sound of birds (of the east or west coast variety, we are not sure), but the sound implies centering; nature is nature, wherever one rests.
Building from ambient beginnings, Weathers slowly rides into the land of drone. A quiet buzz visits many of his tracks, surrounding him like safe memories. When he feels comfortable, he begins to sing, although he sounds as if he’s in the back of the room while the instruments are in the front. We can still make out the important words, especially “Halleujah” on the track of the same name. The louder tracks – in particular, “Ouachita Bayou Hang” – display a confident, hard-strumming style that balances the acoustic numbers. The quieter pieces are filled with nuance; radio echoes visit the final 30 seconds of “Put Your Diamonds Up”, providing a throwback vibe. But the album’s showcase piece is the near-title track “Sun Like This”, the 15-minute closing drone. The track builds to a mid-range volume and density without erupting, perhaps a reflection of the artist’s personality: like brightness and haze without an ensuing thunderstorm.
Weathers’ albums are typically diverse, and We Don’t Have Sun Like This is no exception. Blending disparate genres is difficult, but the artist makes it sound easy. A summer tour (some dates with ensemble, some without) should prove revelatory to new and old fans alike. (Richard Allen)
Release date: August 1