Hollow Heart by The Hanging StarsRelease date: March 25, 2022
It was Gram Parsons who back in the late sixties came up with the term cosmic country. While Parsons seemingly had in mind his version of country music created under the influence of psychedelics (psych music as well), the term’s definition started to include many things along the way, currently becoming part of a more general one, Americana.
Yet, there are a number of more current artists that seem to create their music more akin to what Parsons originally had in mind, and very often far away from the places Parsons came up with his stuff.
Based on Hollow Heart, their latest (fourth) album, London quintet The Hanging Stars, seem more inclined to create some truly cosmic country / folk / Americana.
They – singer and guitarist Richard Olson, bassist Sam Ferman, drummer Paulie Cobra, Patrick Ralla guitars and keyboards, and pedal steeler Joe Harvey-Whyte – along with producer Sean Read (Soulsavers, Dexys) – in their music exude some of the best qualities of the genre – intricate songwriting and musicianship and possibly their flagship, some brilliant harmonies, adding another cosmic dimension to Parson’s one – that of the harmonies Jefferson Airplane and CSN&Y came up with at their prime.
At moments, Hollow Heart reaches the level of the best ‘modern’ cosmic country coming from the place of its origin like The Beachwood Sparks used to make, something that will probably bump it close to the top of the ‘best Americana albums of the year so far.