The Bygones “The Bygones”

Tonetree, 2024

An exceptional debut.

artwork for The Bygones album "The Bygones"The Bygones’ debut is an astonishing and almost flawless album. Joshua Lee Turner and Alison Young became aware of each other when Turner played on a Simon and Garfunkel tribute tour. At the same time, Young uploaded her version of ‘Scarborough Fair’ to social media. Turner and Young followed each other online where they planned to meet. An impromptu session led to the pair making music together which ended with them producing this set of songs which mine the past and also look to the future.

There is much to admire as the Bygones take you on their own ‘Eras Tour’. The set of songs includes a list of genres covering country, jazz, indie folk, rock and quarries the styles across musical decades. A faithful and fun cover of the mysterious Connie Converse tune ‘Clover Saloon’ is included here, but the rest of the material is written by the band.

After a short instrumental titled ‘Introduction’ the record take-offs with the upbeat ‘How Do You Waste a Day?’. There are distinct vibes of Badly Born Boy in the melody and you know this is not going to be a lacklustre ride. Can’t Quit You’ opens with some beautiful steel guitar and takes us on a country road trip. Young hails from an Appalachian pocket of Tennessee and declares “I’m basically from Dollywood.” You can almost smell the fresh mountain air. The harmony between Young and Turner is exceptional throughout but shines on this track.

Stars Turn Cold’ sounds like The Pretenders have dropped in for a jam session. The guitar is reminiscent of a James Honeyman-Scott riff. Young’s vocals are to the front with the beseeching words: “Oh and if you’re feeling like you just want out, I wish you’d tell me instead of moping about it”. It perfectly highlights that moment when you both know a relationship is over but neither wants to be the first to say so. ‘Falling in Love With Broken Hearts’ could be a honky tonk jukebox classic. Sung as a duo this glides along effortlessly and the guitar playing is gorgeous.
The duet ‘Asteroid Day’ is pure poetry starting with the lyrics: “Drawn around you is inky gauze, she reveals her thousand flaws, reminding you of everything, she hated you became” with the background of beautiful arpeggio guitar. The instrumental ‘Interlude’ is exceptional with Young adding wistful vocal accompaniment without words.

The guitar playing conjures up comparisons with the great Bill Frisell. Young and Turner are a great combination. They harmonise well and the songwriting is striking. You will find The Bygones covering other classic songs by checking out the socials and YouTube. There is their version of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’, which propelled them to fame initially, a cover of the Beatles ‘Honey Pie’ and a compelling romp through the American folk classic ‘Plastic Jesus’. Maybe they should have made room for one or all of these in the collection; however except for the aforementioned ‘Clover Saloon’, it is an excellent recording of new and stimulating material. Unsurprisingly, the duo played to sold-out audiences before they had even named the band. Welcome to the Bygones, long may they continue.

9/10
9/10

About Andy Short 10 Articles
You would think with all the music I listen to I would be able to write a song but lyrically I get nowhere near some of the lines I've listened to. Maybe one day but until then I will keep on listening.
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