For a band that started out combining mazurkas, musique concrete and mariachi, Calexico has come to cast a long, lingering shadow. Neo-folk fusionists like DeVotchka and Iron & Wine would be lost without Joey Burns and John Convertino's prescient mix of improvised expressionism and Latin rhythms. Their dreamy Southwestern ghost town soundtracks have rarely sounded so prescient as on this year's Carried To Dust, a vengeful return to its border-crossing soul. The influence of the Tucsonians can be heard on opening band the Acorn, a not-so-freaky folk ensemble not to be confused with the community organizers currently threatening democracy as we know it. On Glory Hope Mountain, released this year in the United States, the Ottawa, Canada, band drives their modal ballads with acoustic guitars that trill like charangos, percussion that charges like an Afro-Cuban drum circle and melodies that stretch out like euphoric sighs at the unexpected sweetness of life.
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