The Dead Tongues to issue two new albums this summer

Photos: Hunter Savoy Jaffe

The Dead Tongues (aka Ryan Gustafson) have announced the release of a pair of albums, ‘Body Of Light’ and ‘I Am A Cloud’.  ‘Body of Light’ will be out digitally on 14th June 2024 while  ‘I Am A Cloud’ will be issued digitally on 9th August 2024, as will the complete 2LP physical package featuring both albums. Gustafson, from North Carolina, has emerged as one of modern roots music’s most distinct voices. The Dead Tongues’ albums remain some of the more compelling and curious works in their field.

Before entering the studio, Gustafson spent a month at “the Shack,” a primitive and private structure in rural western North Carolina, working on new material and sorting through piles of poems, sticky notes scattered across the windows, and stacks of free writing streams of thought. Most of the songs were written during this time. The daylily on the cover of the album was picked from the land the shack is built upon – there’s a connection between the physical natural setting and the creative work itself, intertwined and natural bloom.

Cover art for The Dead Tongues Body Of Light/ I Am A Cloud

Gustafson wanted to continue with that explorative energy once he got into the formal studio, allowing it to lead the group of players assembled – the albums feature performances by Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Bon Iver), Mat Davidson (Twain), Matt Douglas (The Mountain Goats), Joe Westerlund (Califone, Megafaun), Jeff Ratner (Bing and Ruth), and more. Gustafson wanted to dedicate the studio time to not just recording songs but also making something new, with new improvisations.

This latest addition to The Dead Tongues’ body of work is 16 complete tunes split across interweaving and disparate albums. ‘Body of Light’ is described as song-centric and magnetic with ‘I Am A Cloud’ as discursive and wonderfully elliptical. Pre-save / pre-order links can be found here.

Gustafson has released the two albums’ title tracks as singles. “Baby there ain’t no rules here/We can just slide,” he sings at the start of ‘Body of Light’ establishing a collective credo inside an anthem about finding sanctuary with someone else. The music nods to flamenco before lifting into abstraction, as Wasner’s harmonies summon Southern soul.

The acoustic intro to ‘I Am A Cloud’ is quite hypnotic, a mood amplified as the other instruments enter the mix,  The music is entwined around Gustafson’s mix of spoken word and sung lyrics plus some soulful harmonies in the chorus.

Both are promising tasters for the albums.  While there has been no official announcement, we understand UK/European dates are in prospect for October/ November 2024.  They will be listed on the artist’s tour page when announced.

About Richard Parkinson 135 Articles
London based self-diagnosed music junkie with tastes extending to all points of big tent americana and beyond. Fan of acts and songs rather than genres.
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