Yesterday was Valentines Day and the International release day for the latest album from I Am Oak un-nervingly titled Ols Songd album. Thijs Kuijken has collected some rarer live songs and previously unreleased tracks to create this, his 4th, release of his haunting brand of melodic folk music. Maybe this being a collection of songs previously performed makes it seem like familiar territory for I Am Oak. Almost like a gift to existing fans and an opportunity for those new to I Am Oak to get a true feeling for what Thijs creates as a musician. Deep, sparse, beautifully sombre (sounding at least) songs that carry his signature delivery.
The album has what are apparently live favourites like Birches – this also tends to be my current favourite on the album – that closes out the album. Even though it carries with it an echoing farewell atmosphere with the chant like chorus that provides the path from the experience of the album, it can be a song on it’s own and immediately caught my ear.
Now that I have ‘played you out of the album’, I think you might need to be provided with another song that provides the harmonies that lead to the previously descriptor of melodic. The gravitas provided in the chorus of this next track, Firm Hands, hit the spot for me. To me I hear a distinctly European/Dutch vibe – I don’t even know what that means but I think it, so let me have it. Maybe being Canadian, I hear what North American’s call traditional music and this finds me deep in thick forests of foreign lands and I believe I like it. A lot.
Enjoy the full album streaming on Bandcamp – you can also purchase it on CD and Vinyl – right here: http://snowstar.bandcamp.com/album/ols-songd
p.s. Did you hear I Am Oak and The Black Atlantic are putting out a “split” EP on Snowstar as well?? Well they are.
p.p.s. Photo in banner on front page by Nick Helderman