Summer Sounds in the Fall: Elk River Sessions Vol. 2

Elk River Sessions, Vol. 2 Live
@ Dan’s Silverleaf

Although summer is finally passing and autumn is following quickly on its heels, we’re going to take a short dive back into those late summer vibes: campfires, dips in the river, late night singalongs, and good old cabin camping. Yes, it’s that time of year again — time to hear the results of the second Elk River Session, courtesy of Aaron “Catfish” Anttila, Dan’s Silverleaf, and a host of incredibly talented musicians who came together under three names: Feather, Moon, and Mvshrüm.

Feather’s sound is as light as the name: easy-listening, laid-back, comfortable and loving… made up of Miranda Kennedy's bold but tender lines, the slide guitar, and soft, fiddle-esque violin. Throw in a warbling violin with subdued drums and a heavy bass line to hold it down, and you really get the complete indie-folk picture — like an acoustic Pink Floyd, really. It's so down-home. A perfect intro to that closed-cabin intimacy that we all came out to see. It’s the combination of soulful crooning and spacey atmosphere… like a starlit night spent singing with the crickets on the lake.

At first, Moon’s sound was campfire honky-tonk stomp. But then, we entered the “Hall
of the Mountain King”, and suddenly country gave way to blues-inspired metal, reviving old Zeppelin-era standards that eventually transitioned into a full-on stage-shaking breakdown. Fuzzy guitars, heavy hitting rhythm (shout out to that kick drum), and shanty-style vocals. It was a sermon from the lawn-chair pulpit; a verse pulled straight from the cooler. Whereas Feather was the lighthearted, whimsical, pondering side of a good night spent camping, Moon felt like the riotous shenanigans of a fireside hootenanny at the midnight hour, fueled by, as frontwoman Hale Baskin herself noted, “cold beer and cocaine”.

We're in this now. Mvshrüm boarded the earth-ship of their stage, donning make-up reminiscent of Kiss, with a bit more of a sinister turn from the kittens and starmen. Ariel Hartley’s prominent, fire-and-brimstone keys are accompanied by electric guitars, pedals, and heavy drums; this is the most tripped-out of drum circles, plus strings and amplifiers. It's doomy — unabashed, sludgy, heavy, psychedelic gloom. The rest of the triumvirate of bands has been a fulfillment of what we all think of as country or folk: your typical and often radio-friendly cabin music. But when we truly open our minds to Mother Nature and to the sounds beyond the normal veils of perception, a new venue of expression unfolds: the droning, arrhythmic, formless expressions of heavier noise and metal. The outdoors are not always as friendly as they seem, of course — there are dark caves and dwellings that many have never seen, and few would care to. But Mvshrüm made sure to take the deep dive into sonic consciousness on our behalf, and this was what they found.

And so concludes this, the second volume of the Elk River Sessions. We can’t wait to see what next year’s edition holds. For now, we’re just holding our breaths for this year’s vinyl drop.

Profits from the show and album sales will go to Traci Batson and DMAC.

Header design by Clarissa Baniecki