Review: Charlie Sutton – Primitive Songs for Modern Times

There has already been much made of the new decade. Here we are, just a few weeks in and while most of the world is waiting on speculated developments, somewhere between flying cars and the reemergence of flapper dresses, we here at Nanobot are eager for new music. As we step foot into the 20s it is only fitting we kick things off with someone who plays to the new and the old.  

Steely guitar, banjo, and analog tendencies have been the ingredients in Charlie Sutton’s concoctions for many glorious years. The blends and plucks that have been stewing in the Boise, Idaho musician for some time are finely coming to light. Aptly titled, Primitive Songs for Modern Times (Jukerdash Records), the sixteen-track release from Charlie Sutton genre-spans the likes of folk, blues, country, surf, and even garage while fusing vintage with vision, that captures a blend of both sound and technology in a way that is truly special.

I’ll admit, I believed I knew what we were going to get with Primitive Songs for Modern Times. I’ll also admit I never could have imagined how wrong I was to assume. Sutton paints landscapes of beautiful Americana, in both word and in composition.  The record evolves in a story-like way that transports you to each song. Wandering vagabond guitar dances on textured drums one minute (“Someone New”), blistering echo and deep-seeded retro distortion struts the next (“High Heels”); bluesy mountain riffs draw you in (“Heart in a Can”), plucking mountain banjo keeps you warm (“Huckleberry Henry & Holly Morel”); and for good measure, a little soul to dance to the fireplace in your living room (“Windy”).

With care, Charlie Sutton has captured a moment in time that is both vintage and modern. Like Johnson at the Gunter, staying rooted captures something pure, something great. The result is everything but synthetic. Such genuine musicianship, captivating styling, and the wherewithal to just be oneself is what makes Charlie Sutton’s Primitive Songs for Modern Times the perfect way to kick of the new roaring 20s.

Greg is a co-founder and regular contributor of Nanobot Rock