Recollection – Assembly of Dust
“Mama, mama don’t worry long for me/I’m a man and I must find my way.” So sings Assembly of Dust’s champion singer/songwriter, Reid Genauer, on Recollection, the group’s debut studio album. Surely one could take these words from the country vamp, “Telling Sue,” at face value, and gloss over any metaphorical context. But after breaking off from his original Vermont creation, Strangefolk, around the turn of the millennium to pursue grad school, it’s hard to ignore the coming-of-age tones in which Genauer tells his stories — and the delightful manner in which he sings them. On the shoulders of “Grand Design,” Genauer channels the timbre of The Band’s Levon Helm, reaching a bright, choral apex (“Confounded woman, won’t you come to your senses/Cut the wires that bind my hands can’t you see the war has ended”).
“Whistle Clock” and “Bootlegger’s Advice” perfectly embody the collective’s made complete by Nate Wilson (keyboards, vocals), Adam Terrell (guitar, vocals), John Lecesse (bass, vocals) and Andrew Herrick (drums) marriage of R&B grooves and country harmonies, bending from electric keyboard arrangements to a guitar-twanging refrain on the former. “Bootlegger’s” echoes the swirling organ and clavinet runs of Garth Hudson, eventually giving way to a collection of honey-throated vocals.“40 Reasons” is a pure country love-song. Genauer sings over slide-guitar swells and tip-toe banjo: “Why don't you ever hold me/I don't believe you told me/40 reasons why I am singing/My head is turning and my heart is stinging.”
Assembly of Dust’s music, much like that of The Band’s, draws in listeners by daring them to consider events within the structure of their own lives, their personal histories. “You may not have an epiphany listening to our music,” Genauer says in the press material. “But odds are you will find a reflection of your life experience or an emotion that you can own hiding in the recesses.”