Unsung Passages [Exclusive Sea Glass]
The long-awaited reissue of The Dead Tongues' beloved third album, Unsung Passage, a profound reflection on the emotional architecture of love, loneliness, and life at large.
The Dead Tongues is songwriter Ryan Gustafson's long-evolving vehicle for a beautifully fractured vision of folk, country, blues, and cosmic American rock, and Unsung Passage is a first-person reckoning with the things Gustafson, a chronically peripatetic adventurer, has seen enough to sing about. The ten remarkable tracks of Unsung Passage are long-distance distillations of events lived and places seen and pondered and ultimately poured into reflective anthems for our harried times.
During "Like a Dream," a gentle gallop of grinning harmonica and trickling guitar, Gustafson explores the balance of existence from a hillside vantage. He sees the curve of the earth while pondering his need for a paycheck, a moment that eternally pits the banal against the beautiful. "The Broken Side of People Everywhere" is a gorgeous love song written with the wisdom of someone who knows that nothing is forever or perfect, that there's no real risk in a life where everything ends, anyway. There are meditations on mortality and devotion (the flute-laced dream "My Other"), on money and temporality (the banjo trot "The Giver"), and on impermanence and acceptance (the achingly gorgeous "Pale November Dew").
This isn't Gustafson's idle speculation about life and the world; these are the realizations of a restless mind, of a songwriter who sings "this old town ain't gonna watch me die" and means it.