There’s something so uniquely captivating and emotive about acoustic guitars. They have a sonic power and expressive range on their own that few other instruments can match, not to mention a deeply rich history across so many cultures and types of folk music. It was those things that initially drew us to the richly dark, haunting, and beautiful work of Canadian acoustic trio Ulvesang last year (and if you haven’t listened to those guys yet, you seriously need to get on that already). And in a similar respect, it’s those qualities that now draw us to another trio showcasing acoustic guitar work, City of the Sun.
If Ulvesang represents the darker side of acoustic folk – the mysterious, the occult, the energy and life once the sun sets – then New York’s City of the Sun is the other side of that coin. As the cover art for their upcoming debut album, to the sun and all the cities in between, perfectly illustrates, they’re the sun rising over the mountains, revealing warmth and golden tones wherever the light falls. The group’s three musicians, John Pita, Avi Snow, and Zach Para are more indebted to other musical lineages both classic and modern – Spanish guitar folk, post-rock of the Explosions In The Sky family – than the kind of pagan/Nordic folk that Ulvesang draw from and forms the backbone of much traditional black metal. But placed side-by-side, it’s easier to hear the similarities than the differences. It’s sweeping, beautiful music that’s as suitable to invigorate as it is to soothe.
As of the moment the band don’t have a wealth of recorded material out for public consumption, but their rise from NYC subway buskers to selling out local venues and going on a cross-continental tour through the US and Canada in the few years they’ve been active is hugely impressive and should make the release of to the sun and all the cities in between a success. We’ll be doing a more thorough write-up of that album in our Unmetal Monday column following the album’s release March 4. In the meantime you can follow the band and get tour dates on their Facebook page!