Chasing Winter was recorded with The Cutting List one night in 2013, amongst the cobwebs, dust, and graffiti of an old abandoned university hall outside of Melbourne, Australia. We lit candles, set up lamps, drank truckloads of coffee, and played music all night.
The Cutting List:
Lucas Paine - vocals, guitar, lyrics
Luke Richardson - double bass
Anna Smyrk - fiddle
Dan Musil - dobro
Jim Power - banjo, harmonies
Ida Duelund Hansen – harmonies
& thank you to Adam Casey at True Vine Studios
and Adam Dempsey at Jack the Bear Mastering
This is one of those records that grabs you from the off, and you can’t stop listening.
- Phil Edwards, Americana UK (UK)
4 of 5 stars
This earthy, alt-country singer-songwriter's excellent new stripped-back release is steeped in the sound of America's South. Sally Away is a jangly, melancholic opener with gothic elements that set the tone for a raw and slightly mournful collection. Its familiar and comforting while conveying some world-weariness, but it's certainly not stale. Chasing Winter also features some beautiful slide guitar.
- Stephanie Tell, The Music (AUS)
Chasing Winter is the latest offering from American-born, Melbourne-based all around folk man; Lucas Paine. Along with his band The Cutting List, this North Carolina native has produced one of the most unique sounds I have heard this year. Filled to the brim with dark folk melodies, Paine has created a soulful masterpiece that wouldn’t be misplaced in a desolate whiskey bar deserted on the side of an American highway. Paine and his banjo playing cohorts recorded the EP in an abandoned university on the outskirts of Melbourne; it was made in one night, and when listening to each track you can picture Paine et al jamming on banjos until the soft hours of dawn.
Kick-starting this folk-fest is ‘Sally Away’ and Paine’s beautiful voice backed by Ida Duelund’ssoft harmonies turn what could have been a simple song into a haunting acoustic session. Their voices are carried along in perfect unison by Jim Power on banjo, Anna Smyrk on fiddle and Paine on guitar. The instrumental solo towards the end of the track tugs at the heart-strings and I recommend that anyone experiencing any form of heartache ensure that chocolate is within reach for the duration.
‘Can’t Sing No Darkness’ is a little too country for my taste; dark mournful lyrics dominate this track and while the steady accompaniment of a well-played banjo keeps this track moving, it takes a couple of listens before you truly appreciate the earthy sound.
Moving along in a similar way to ‘Can’t Sing No Darkness’ is third offering; ‘Dark and Leaf Coloured’. While it’s not a stand out track, the hypnotic simplicity of Paine’s voice will keep you drawn in while the repetition of slide guitar and melodic harmonies will carry visions of empty winter throughout your head for the entire 5 minutes.
The rhythm changes completely as ‘Misty Mountain Tryst’ begins; spirited up-tempo guitar and banjo coupled with a slow chorus makes for a heartfelt musical composition. This is the standout track by far; it embodies perfectly what an earthen folk tune should be and Paine’s North Carolina roots are evident throughout.
The EP might only be four tracks long, but with each tune running to 5 minutes or more, you won’t be left wanting. Along with his very talented band, Lucas Paine has managed to create some beautiful if not sorrowful folk music that lays bare the bones of his soul via soaring banjo, raw guitar and heartfelt vocals.
- Rowan Montgomery, Casual Band Blogger (AUS)
The beginning strums on the opener "Sally Away" are desolate and cold, and immediately call to mind images of snow. The way the composition builds up into the volatile flurry of fiddle, banjo and guitar in the middle and the end of the track, only to melt away into more peaceful string arrangements is a brilliant move, and shows the acoustic punch Paine is capable of.
Paine's voice works well with this music, an earthen croon that sounds neither self-pitying nor entirely optimistic, even as he sings lines like "I am going to see my baby tonight / Won't see no spirits, won't see no ghosts." This is from the second track, "Can't Sing No Darkness," far more calm and diligent, with lighter chord changes and a preeminent banjo molding the mood with its mostly singular notes. Paine picks himself up and dusts himself off in the much faster tempos of "Misty Mountain Tryst." The simple but urgent chords create a musical atmosphere just this side of punk, but Paine knows when to reel in the emotion; the quiet chorus is an excellent counterpoint to the acoustic pummel the song otherwise presents. Paine's guitar playing is front and center, and the anger behind the playing hits like a ball of warmth on a cold night.
Chasing Winter is a raw slice of folk that is still approachable despite the melancholy subject matter. The first and final tracks exhibit Paine's best ideas, using acoustic instruments with quiet-loud compositions - the severe moments throughout "Misty Mountain Tryst" alone make this worth checking out.