When: Sat., Sept. 24, 8 p.m. 2016
Kacy Anderson and Clayton Linthicum are second cousins from the Wood Mountain uplands of southern Saskatchewan, and they’ve been forging their own take on British and American folk songs together for a decade—a long time, considering they’re only 19 and 21 years old. Up till now they’ve used a sparse duo approach—usually little more than Linthicum’s acoustic guitar and Anderson’s lovely voice—but on their third album, this year’s Strange Country (New West), they adorn a kaleidoscopic mix of original tunes and traditional numbers with well-placed flourishes of vibraphone, steel guitar, drums, and strings. In their song “If You Ask How I’m Keeping” Anderson sings, “Because everything I’m doing has already been done,” and though it’s framed as general existential questioning, it suggests the duo’s self-awareness about revisiting centuries-old music. You can hear the influence of 60s Brits such as Sandy Denny and Anne Briggs, but Kacy & Clayton also borrow from American folk-rock modes—Anderson eschews the mannered UK style in favor of a more intuitive, rangy delivery that’s more like Joni Mitchell. “Down at the Dancehall” projects a Cajun vibe a la Richard Thompson thanks to Linthicum’s melodeon swells and the triangle patterns of drummer Lucas Goetz, while a take on the sea shanty “The Plains of Mexico” has hints of twang. The duo’s pop instincts sometimes veer closer to Peter, Paul & Mary than to the Watersons, but whether that’s a calculated choice or not, it’s nice to hear someone do something unexpected on this fertile musical ground.