An American Forrest “O Bronder, Donder Yonder” (Hearth Music, 2019)

If you ever needed a case study to argue that an album’s backstory is sometimes as striking as the music itself, then ‘O Bronder, Donder Yonder’ wouldn’t be a bad place to start. Forrest Van Tuyl – that’s the singer-songwriter who is An American Forrest – currently spends nearly six months of every year working in the Northeastern Oregon wilderness, much of it on horseback, guiding mule-trains over mountain trails. That off-the-beaten-track (in more senses than one) experience as a modern-day cowboy acts as the musical and lyrical backbone for ‘O Bronder, Donder Yonder’, melded into a sound with strong resonances of 1970s Outlaw Country, straight-up classic country music and – last but not least – the Appalachian bluegrass of Gillian Welch. (As Van Tuyl, perhaps slightly wryly, comments to AUK about Welch, “We tend to steal from a lot of the same places.”) Continue reading “An American Forrest “O Bronder, Donder Yonder” (Hearth Music, 2019)”