The Pines’ Sparrows in the Bell

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ImageBenson Ramsey, half of the Pines, is the son of Bo Ramsey, longtime producer and sideman to Greg Brown, Red House’s most important act. This atmospheric second album and label debut, however, leaves no doubt that the duo didn’t need Dad’s help to get signed. Benson and partner David Huckfelt are talented singers and acoustic guitarists and the lion’s share of their material—originals except for the traditional “Careless Love”—grabs and holds. True, their music can be as melancholy as Nick Drake; but while a few tracks seem plodding, depressing, or both, the album delivers when the beat picks up a little and bright melodies combine with quavering, Dylanesque vocals on “Circle Around the Sun.” On that and other such tracks, the Pines can make you feel happy and sad almost simultaneously.

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