Dear Companion

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It would be a stretch to call singer/songwriters Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore country artists, though the earmarks of bluegrass and mountain music are undeniably present in the unvarnished acoustic style that frames their inventive and unusual concoctions, which uniquely utilize a plucked cello. On Dear Companion, the two tackle the matter of mountaintop coal removal—a topic close to their Kentucky-bred hearts. The duo veers away from outspoken protest songs a la activists such as Pete Seeger—“Only a Song” humbly admits, This is only a song / It can’t change the world. The two musicians get their point across nonetheless by poetically touching on themes of separation and powerlessness in the face of Big Industry machinations. If Dear Companion operates miles below the country mainstream, it features subject matter that is classically rural while shining a light on musical possibilities the likes of which are rarely mined in Music City.

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