|Sunday 23 March 2014 @ 02:00pm : -
The Seznec Brothers are Cory and Yann. They really are brothers, though it may seem like an elaborate ruse to gain credibility. Cory lives in France. Yann lives in Scotland. When they meet up they make music.
They have played music together for about 20 years. Their influences and musical interests are vast, ranging from Appalachian banjo music to 20th century electroacoustic composition by way of 1960s West African pop and interactive sound art.
Using mostly acoustic instruments including gourd banjos, pianos, guitars, the brothers defy strict categorization. Their music is strongly rooted in tradition yet forward looking, introspective yet universal, straightforward yet complex.
Their album “Jagged Land” is now out.
Amadou Diagne will be joining them for this tour.
“Subtly distorted electric guitar and gently clicking calabash on the quirky ‘Chop it Up’, and some nifty kamalengoni (hunter’s lute) on ‘Jagged Land’, played by guest musician Pedro Kouyaté. There’s bar-room blues on ‘Trying to Get Home’, which introduces some agreeably cranky piano. The overall sound is clearly influenced by the fact the brothers spent many of their formative years living on the US East Coast. But although one is reminded of artists as diverse as Jim White, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Fleetwood Mac – as well as Appalachian mountain music and Malian blues – the brothers’ songs are sufficiently idiosyncratic to transcend all of these influences in order to assert their own identity." ~ Howard Male, Songlines, March 2013 edition.
“Cory Seznec, who’ll be familiar to Americana followers over here through his tours with the Groanbox Boys, joins his Edinburgh-based brother Yann on a collection mostly comprising songs that, although recorded in London, Annapolis, Paris and Scotland, sound as if they’ve been distilled in a log cabin in the deepest Ozarks. It would be a cabin with its radio tuned to African, Caribbean and jazz stations but from the brothers’ spirited opening shuffle through the traditional Arkansas Sheik (with its rustic images of cornbread, molasses and sassafras tea) to the calypso-flavoured instrumental closer, Four Acre Field, this is rootsy fare with the charm and understated sophistication of Ry Cooder’s early albums. The presence of Mother’s Last Word To Her Son by Texan Washington Phillips, whose gospel songs Cooder also championed, underlines the Cooder connection while Yann’s Sugar In Her Coffee and Cory’s Chop It Up suggest singers and songwriters with the tradition in their hearts and enjoyably individual ways of taking it forward." ~ Rob Adams, The Herald, September 23, 2012
“Cory Seznec is best known as one third of the world/folk mavericks Groanbox, but here he teams up with his brother Yann to mine similar, if slightly less outré seams. Groanbox can never see a musical boundary without wanting to cross it and fortunately it’s the same here. Traditional American folk songs like ‘Arkansas Sheik’ sit next to the infectious and even slightly poppy ‘Long Red Road’ while elsewhere the sultry New Orleans piano on ‘Sugar In Her Coffee’ says hello to some palm-wine style guitar on the gentle closing instrumental, ‘Four Acre Field’. There’s also a conventional but excellent take on the Reverend Gary Davis’s ‘Tryin’ To Get Home’ with Cory picking like a demon, and the very Groanbox-y title track, which starts with the killer line Sliver of moon like a dangling worm and ends up as contemporary African-hued gospel. Recorded all over the place – different countries, unexpected locations – the end results provide an excellent set of genre-straddling contemporary roots. A digipak with great artwork and full lyrics (hurrah) complete a fine package. We need more of this sort of thing." ~ Jeremy Searle, R2 Magazine review, Sept/Oct 2012
“Jagged Land’s eclectic mix of old-timey, traditional folk and blues, pop, plus Central African finger picked guitar is performed in an intriguing fashion." ~ Maurice Hope, Americana-UK, September 2, 2012