Hearing Aide: Harmonic Dirt ‘Anthracite’

When I first started to pick apart this album, I did so just instrumentally. The first track really pulled me in with sweet and simple instrumentation, angelic vocal harmonization and a catchy chorus. I dove deeper into the album and started to pick apart each song lyrically and found that it’s somber – Like really, really sad, in a good way!

Harmonic Dirt was created by Mike Gridley and Susan Coleman, who began writing songs together about two years ago. Coleman wrote the lyrics, Gridley put them to music and sent their creations off to friend and percussionist, Taylor Bucci. They saw the potential they had as a group, went off to record and just a few months later, created a full length album. ‘This endeavor is a testament to the power of confidence, the magic of compatible musical visions, and blind faith,’ said the bands bio.

They pull inspiration from Son Volt, Wilco, Neil Young and other heavy hitters of the sixties folk-rock genre. Not many aspiring musicians make music like this anymore. In an era of four on the floor song about partying, mumble rap about money and women, or even jam bands playing 15 minute songs, where 95 percent of a track is the guitarist shredding away, it’s good to fall back on genres like this; where we slow down, simplify, and focus on the more somber parts of life. Harmonic Dirt delivers that.

“Please,” could absolutely be an unreleased Neil Young song – the formula is there. A sweet, major chord progression and harmonica are the ideal welcome-matt to invite listeners into what Harmonic Dirt has to offer.  The chorus is the absolute best part. The groups vocal harmonization is addictive and well done, but it’s a shame this is really the only time we hear it on the album.

“Anthracite” is another key track. They again capture the sound of the best folk rock artists, with sultry guitar riffs, catchy harmonica hooks and some very somber lyrics. We hear a story about about deceased coal miners? Perhaps, someone working in a mine that has passed? Is it depressing? Absolutely. But it’s good to get in touch with those emotions and to hear about other people’s hardships and loss.

“Maybe” is another one listeners should spend some time dissecting. We get some flavors of 60’s pop – The Beatles definitely shine through on here instrumentally and lyrically, as we hear about complex relationships. It’s a common theme these days, but stories aren’t usually written in this way. It’s a nice change of pace.

This may differ compared to what’s being released lately, but it’s worth trying. Sample this album out at the end of a long day, as a way to wind down. It may be a little melancholy if you look into the lyrics, but it’s softened by the peaceful, and simplicity of, instrumentation, which can make dealing with sadness and somber thoughts just a little easier.