By Steve B.
2 min read
Joseph Allred’s new album Branches and Leaves evokes a mood. It is a profoundly beautiful mood. One of peace and sadness, stillness and anticipation, remorse and acceptance. It paints a picture of sitting alone at dusk, looking over a still and quiet pond, feeling the relief that past trials are over (for better or worse), but acknowledging that more will come.
I can’t speak more highly of this album. It is the album we need as we wake from our pandemic existential cocoon to a new world unsure of itself and only limping along. As the song “Redbud Winter” starts: “Who is this that calls my name, when the redbud trees are just in bloom. Oh, but the winter has not left us yet. No there’s another snow in store.”
Branches and Leaves is being released by local giants Feeding Tube Records, who have put out many other albums by Joseph. While I used to think of Joseph as mainly an instrumental guitarist, this album demonstrates the breadth of his talent. In fact, my favorite moments on the album are when it is just Joseph singing over his harmonium.
I am going to end this review with the lyrics of the second half of the song “Scoundrel,” which hopefully will be your gateway into the album. “And oh how it burns. A fire as bright as day. Whose arms touch the stars and light up the milky way. The branches unwound and came falling down, down, down. Let it all die. Let it all float away. Carried off by the birds to the ends of the milky way. And dance to the sound when it comes falling down, down, down.”
*Originally published in-print in Boston Compass Newspaper #140 December 2021