THE DARLING DOWNS ~ FROM ONE TO ANOTHER
2007 album from this duo led by Australian legends Kim Salmon (Scientists, Beasts Of Bourbon, etc) and Ron Peno (Died Pretty). Armed only with Salmon's custom Cole Clark acoustic guitar and Peno's singular voice and vision, The Darling Downs have crafted a record of nuanced beauty, a subtle masterpiece that unfolds like a dahlia with each successive spin, giving the listener something new and unexpected at every helping. All from two guys and one pristine guitar. At times Peno channels the spirit of Appalachian Folk's high lonesome sound, complete with yips, yelps and howls, while elsewhere his vocals are hypnotically understated, almost delicate.
‘Alt country tag inadequate, A brave move for both brilliantly pulled off.’ – four stars – Sharon O’Connel – Uncut
‘An understated gem” – four stars – Max Decharne – Mojo
Such were the praises sung for Scientists Kim Salmon and Died Pretty's Ron Peno’s Darling Downs debut album How Can I Forget This Heart Of Mine.
From One To Another follows its predecessor down the One Guitar, One Voice path but brings along a banjo along for some of the journey.
Kim says “The banjo is a new thing to me, but it felt good in my hands. I wasn’t even sure how to tune it. Sometimes it sounds a bit like a sitar, which I believe is frowned upon in purist bluegrass circles, but I like those sounds, so we kept them. And it was a natural fit with Ron’s lyrics, which are a product of his mad alchemy and his particular brand of genius. They were written on the spot at Dave Graney and Clare Moore’s Ponderosa Studio. What we ended up with is 11 new songs – sort of hillbilly jazz free form tunes.”
ABC dig Radio ~ The Darling Downs' From One To Another Track-By-Track
Australian music survivors Ron Peno and Kim Salmon - aka the Darling Downs - are back with a second serving of their "hillbilly jazz free-form tunes", From One To Another.
Ahead of their respective reformations for the Don't Look Back concerts (Peno and Died Pretty will be performing Doughboy Hollow, while Salmon's Surrealists revive Blood Red River) they took time out to give ABC dig's Steve Shanahan an intimate 'track-by-track' walk-though of their new album...
Listen to the track-by-track guide: www.abc.net.au/dig/stories/s2198266.htm
by Michael Berick
A quick look at From One to Another's cover will conjure up images of the film Deliverance. In a sepia-toned photo, two men stand close to one another. One sports a scowl, an ill-fitting suit and close-cut grey hair; the other is a scruffy-haired man holding a banjo. The latter man also wears a polka dot tie, a clue that this duo might not be from the Georgia backwoods. This twosome, in fact, hails from Australia. The scowling man is singer Ron Peno, the charismatic frontman of the '80s/'90s punk band Died Pretty, while the banjo man is Kim Salmon, the acclaimed Aussie guitarist best known for his tenure in the Scientists.
The Darling Downs, however, is a band radically different from the groups of their youths. Here they are mining a spare, simple acoustic Americana sound that basically consists of Peno's rural twang and Salmon's picking on a banjo or guitar. A good example of their unadorned, casual approach is "There's a Light, Pt. 2," a gospel-infused folk number that sounds like Peno and Salmon are performing it around a campfire.
The songs here often feel like murder ballads in tone, although not necessarily in content. In fact, there's an elusiveness to the lyrics -- their tunes are more fever dream-like than straightforward story-songs -- which serves to enhance the mysterious hillbilly noir vibe that surfaces on eerie tracks like "Gather 'Round (Stomp It Down)," "Redeeming" (both of which feature Peno's haunted howling), and "Circa '65." However, the duo isn't aiming to create creepy Americana caricatures. On "Something Special," they address honest emotions, not country hokum. This bucolic ode to love, featuring Peno's heartfelt vocals and Salmon's gentle finger-picking, sounds like something that could have come out of Britain's '60s folk scene.
The closing tune, "Somewhere There's a Place Where I'll Be Fine," offers a sense of solace in the darkness, with Peno's cracked voice offers an apology while holding out hope for the future. It is Peno's expressive singing, be it in the fragility that he expresses in "The Only Home I've Ever Known" or the haunted loneliness he projects in "Lately," that helps to steer this disc away from being hillbilly shtick and into music that holds a haunting emotional resonance.
released November 1, 2007
Vocals – Ron Peno
Acoustic & Electric Guitar, Banjo, Backing Vocals – Kim Salmon
Bass Xylophone, Kick Drum, Percussion – Clare Moore
Recorded and Mixed By – Dave Graney
Producer – Kim Salmon
Assistant Producers – Clare Moore, Dave Graney, Ron Peno
Mastered By – Greg Wadley
Design and photography - Peter Barrett (Hoof.net.au
Banjo provided by Ryan Hughs.
Suit by Morrissey.
Kim Salmon plays a Cole Clark acoustic guitar.
For Emma, Gene and Zebediah.