Austin Cash - "Hello, Franklin"
Released August 11th, 2023
Hello, Franklin, the latest collection of recorded music from Arkansas artist Austin Cash, is perhaps his most formidable. A further exploration into the realms of American vernacular music and Minimalism, Hello, Franklin finds Cash distilling the essence of his composing to its essential qualities and substance, yielding a potent tonic of uncluttered feeling and emotion. The resulting four song EP - written over a long year and recorded in a night - translates the nameless experience of late-pandemic life to solo guitar.
In this intimate audio portrait of such conflicted feelings (isolation and self-mending, anxiety and solace), Cash and engineer/co-producer Eric Whittans treat the guitar as an ensemble all its own. These recordings fixate on the instrument’s dynamic nuance and full expressive potential in a way seldom heard on solo guitar recordings. You are hearing the instrument as Cash himself heard it when carving experience into these melodies and structures. Its closest analogs are perhaps the solo guitar compositions of John Fahey and progenitors and substantiators of the American Primitive style. However, while Cash’s works do well to carry the legacy of the genre’s harmonic and melodic richness and sheer transcendental power, rarely do we see such intensity and jaggedness in the feelings those pieces portray. On Hello, Franklin, Cash delivers equal parts despair and elation, fixing teeth to a genre-space defined by drony bliss and whispered meditations.
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