When Isthmus hosted an acoustic session with The Whigs in our office two weeks ago, it made perfect sense to see if their Mississippi-based tour mates Water Liars would join the party and perform even more polished, unplugged versions of their work.
Luckily for both our ears and yours, they obliged and performed three tracks off their self-titled February album and third full-length release. All three songs sound rooted in red clay and kudzu, with Justin Kinkel-Schuster and Andrew Bryant in pared-down form for songs steeped in the band's Southern Gothic aesthetic.
"Tolling Bells" bears the somber weight of its tribute to the late Songs: Ohia artist Jason Molina. Bryant's raspy backing vocals take on even more striking contrast to Kinkel-Schuster's croon in person on Appalachia-inspiring "Swannanoa." Finally, the duo's Southern hospitality even extended to giving the local crowd a mention (or, more accurately, our West Virginia counterparts) with their cover of rockabilly wildman Hasil Adkins' "Moon Over Madison."
A big thanks to Water Liars for an early Halloween treat and a reminder that, with the right sound, even Madison can be feel downright antebellum.