Since the 2009 release of his Donkey LP, Ryan Gustafson has delivered some of the state’s best folk-inclined rock. He’s an expert at pitting brooding lyrics against warm, inviting arrangements. Gustafson expanded upon that premise under the name The Dead Tongues with 2013’s Desert. Three years later, The Dead Tongues’ new Montana is at last ready to roll.
“Graveyard Fields” is the first track from Montana, and it follows through on Gustafson’s brand of twang, but with a full-band arrangement that’s swampy and springy. The beginning conjures the blues, but “Graveyard Fields” leans just as heavily on Southern country funk and contemporary folk.
Flutes float into the mix, lending the song a cool mysticism—something that’s long been partially cloaked in his earlier work. Gustafson’s recent time with Minnesota guitarist and songwriter Charlie Parr appears to peek through here, too, though Gustafson’s approach is more easygoing than Parr’s proclivity for playing fast and loose. All in all, this is a perfect tease of Montana.
Montana will be available via iTunes March 4. You can pick up a copy at the release show that night at Cat’s Cradle, too.