Two of my favorite up-and-coming folk songwriters collaborated for this sort-of-protest album about mountaintop removal. I was underwhelmed at first, but it’s a big-time grower, and it turned out to be one of my favorite records of 2010.
…at the end of the day it feels strange to call Dear Companion a protest album. The coal mining songs of the early 20th century are certainly a benchmark here, but those stories (and earlier mining practices) are a whole different monster. The people in those songs didn’t need their awareness raised: They were working 70-hour weeks, suffering crippling injuries, and developing the black lung. The songwriter’s job was just to tell the story. In Dear Companion, the obvious main characters are the mountains themselves, and Sollee and Moore take every route possible—personifying them, apologizing to them, making them a motif, evoking them with that cello—just to get us to slow down and notice them.
–full review, originally posted on June 24, 2010, at Popmatters