A mix of sadness and hope pervades Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore’s Dear Companion, a sentiment that makes sense for a collaboration hoping to draw attention to the destruction of mountaintop removal coal mining that is occurring in and around their Kentucky home. Sollee and Moore recruited fellow Kentuckian Yim Yames (My Morning Jacket, Monsters of Folk) to produce and contribute, and a contemplative ode to the region was born.
The songs on Dear Companion range from instrumental interludes (“Wilson Creek”) and sweet meditations appropriate for creekside autumn days (“Flyrock #2) to slow reservation yielding to joy peeking through (“Try”).
Deep cello and thumping banjo dominate “Something, Somewhere, Sometime”, while Sollee’s playing takes a different tack on “Sweet Marie” with beautiful swells that envelop plaintive vocals and lead in horns and haunted, drifting calls. Unique is the mid-album title track, frantic and lurching, slinking along in the velvet black of night.