By Ian Bremner
Country music as a genre is a constant source of debate. What is and what is not country music. Between the traditionalists and fans of current pop country, it can often be a fruitless conversation. The good news is, it’s a meaningless argument. In recent years country music as a whole has been opening up more folks and blurring the lines of past and future. There’s alt-country, country rock, country soul, acid country, even the grossly titled hick hop. To date, no one in recent memory has infused meditation and mindfulness into the music quite like Jeffrey Silverstein has done with Western Sky Music.
Western Sky Music is Silverstein’s 2nd solo full length to date. Where his debut, You Become The Mountain was a nature filled adventure with drum loops, spacey guitars and meditative mantras, Western Sky Music sounds like its cover suggests. It’s a head-in-the-clouds affair soaked with pedal steel guitar, stretched out instrumentals, excellent guest spots by William Tyler and Karima Walker and a specific tone few are able to capture.
It feels like an evolutionary step forward for Silverstein who has been honing his craft and unique style in Portland, OR since moving there from New York. The mountainous air of the Pacific Northwest is omnipresent throughout its run time. In songs like Cowboy Grass and Sunny Jean, Silverstein sings in a relaxed, observational manner, as if he’s a tour guide for the world he’s created.
Whether Western Sky Music is country or not, does not matter. He’d probably welcome the thought and debate because it would mean your mind is open to such things. Hop on a bike, take a walk, go on a hike, wander the western sky.
Western Sky Music is out now on Arrowhawk Records. Buy/Listen below