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Album review: 'Everdene Holler'

by

Everdene Holler

'Everdene Holler'

Self-released

everdeneholler.bandcamp.com

Rochester duo Everdene Holler's debut album is a curious collection of sounds. Is it drone music? Is it roots music? Delightfully, the answers are unclear, as banjo player Zora Gussow and fiddler Clara Riedlinger -- who share vocal duties -- defy expectations with six unsettling but satisfying takes on traditional folk ballads. "Undone in Sorrow" is a rustic combination of ambient nature sounds, a warm, major-chord drone, and insistent banjo playing. During the murder ballad "Matty Groves," a haunting organ drone becomes virtually atonal against the vocal harmonies. The album closes with a swirling, nearly psychedelic version of the Sacred Harp standard "Idumea," called "And Am I Born to Die" here. "Everdene Holler" is compelling outsider folk with mystical, avant-garde vibes -- the kind of music Rochester hasn't come close to hearing since Hieronymus Bogs moved to the Southwest.

Everdene Holler will play at its album release party, along with Autoharpy, on Sunday, March 31, 7 p.m. at The Spirit Room, 139 State Street. $5 suggested donation. 397-7595. facebook.com/TheSpiritRoomRochester.