There’s something uniquely unnerving about the banjo: the off-kilter rhythms of the pluck, the metallic-yet-organic clink of the strings, the long warble of the reverberations through its hollow body.
These reverberations seem endless on Ghost Trees, the latest EP from Yarrow Harvest, the ‘freak folk’ project from Peterborough’s Stephen Robert Disher. Made in tribute to “powerful wild spaces,” Disher evokes images of endless treks through scratchy pines lit with starlight, and rolling hills pregnant with song—the kind of spaces that really exist, and yet also feel otherworldly and dreamy, the kind of places you could get lost in, or lose yourself in. The album does this both with poetic and mysterious lyrics and without—as two of the four tracks are instrumental.
Surrounded in a forest of mournful violins, heaving organs, and thundering percussion, the banjo seems to plink hesitantly and ever onward, into the night, searching for a clearing in the trees.
Yarrow Harvest’s Ghost Trees is available for purchase on Bandcamp.
All images courtesy the artist.