Rare Feeling marries the yearning of youth with an aged warmth – something you want to sip slowly, something to make a hard world soft at the edges.
Twain is the moniker of Mt. Davidson. He is an enigmatic artist who has been on the scene for more than a decade, recording DIY solo albums and playing with the likes of The Low Anthem, Spirit Family Reunion, and The Deslondes, quietly honing his craft. Then, earlier this year, whispers of Twain began circling around the blogosphere campfire when Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief named Davidson her favorite living songwriter. Listening to Rare Feeling, it’s easy to hear why.
The timelessness of these harmonies belies a deep familiarity with the folk and country legends of yore, while his virtuosity on the guitar makes him easily one of the most interesting artists reimagining that chapter of American music history. Rare Feeling is a blur of arpeggiated melancholy pierced with staccato, melodies running into and through one another like silvery thread through a patchwork.
Davidson is an unexpected songwriter. His lyrics are at one moment poetry, meandering easily through dense metaphors, and in the next instant stripped naked of any figurative trappings down to candid, hard verses that might as well be conversations with the mirror.
Opening track Solar Pilgrim is rich with mystery, inviting speculation and a seat on the carpet ride: “Now my soul is a pilgrim / and my body is barely keeping up / and one day, it won’t keep up any more.” But in the next breath, Davidson whittles words into the anemic transparency of The Sorcerer:
“Lots of my heroes killed themselves,
or went insane,
or drank so much,
or did so much drugs they nearly killed themselves.
Some people tell you that that means we live in a crooked life.
But I know it was society that was poisoning them like it’s poisoning me.”
It makes for a rewarding – if disarming – listen, this gorgeous mixture of sorrow, romance, philosophy, and social commentary. Add Twain’s voice to the chorus making sense of these strange days we call home.