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When In the Pines released their self-titled debut in 2008, their sound resonated profoundly within and beyond the Kansas City music community.
Founded as a sextet that included a two-piece string section, the band deftly mixed music from disperate genres and eras into a sound that was at-once fresh but familiar—nostalgic, even: a blend of old-time folk, classical music, experimental folk-rock. It cast a spell that transported listeners forward into new terrains and back into long-lost times, a sound with a sepia-tone Dorthea Lange/Dust Bowl vibe embellished with contemporary attributes that quash any notions of revivalism or retroism.
“In The Pines” impressed listeners far beyond the band's hometown, It was released in Kansas City by Second Nature Recordings, which led to some regional touring, and by the German label Arctic Rodeo, which led to a tour of Germany. The future looked bright. Then life got in the way.
In 2010, lead singer Brad Hodgson moved to Austin, Texas. Then live shows became more infrequent; the lineup went through some changes; the band took a hiatus; and the recording process was delayed, interminably, it seemed to fans awaiting new music.
Twelve years after releasing their debut, In the Pines is proud and happy to announce the birth of “Bones,” the first song from what will be the long-awaited second full-length. The lineup still includes five original members: Hodgson, Darren Welch (bass, vocals), Laurel Morgan Parks (violin, vocals), Matt Wolber (guitar) and Mike Myers (drums).
Despite the song's title, there is nothing skeletal about it. “Bones” is lush and orchestral, a low-pulse, folk-ish rock ballad awash in strings, embroidered with filigrees of violin and acoustic guitars and bathed in dreamy vocals and supernal vocal harmonies. It's a departure from the Pines' signature sound, yet rife with all their endearing traits: melodic, hypnotic, meditative and built on clever turns and changes.
The yet-to-be-named album, which the band hopes to release this summer (on Arctic Rodeo), has been a prolonged labor of love, but the rewards have justified all the effort and tribulations.
“It's definitely been a long haul with lots of obstacles,” Hodgson said. “But the thing that stands out is how much I love working with and creating with the band. We've been together so long, no matter the distance or time apart, it still feels like a family. And we now know how to work through ways that might have been a hindrance in earlier days.”
Likewise, if “Bones” is an early sign of what's to follow, the wait will be well worth all the patience spent by their loyal fans, at home and abroad.