On his three previous solo banjo records, Durham transplant Nathan Bowles outlined impressive geographical and emotional terrain by alternating sophisticated syncopation and impressionistic experiments. But on the excellent new Plainly Mistaken, his first full-length made largely with his new trio, Bowles capitalizes on lessons he’s learned through a decade in Pelt and the Black Twig Pickers or backing the likes of Steve Gunn and Hiss Golden Messenger. With Mt. Moriah’s Casey Toll on bass and CAVE’s Rex McMurry on drums, Bowles takes the banjo on far-out kosmische trips and returns to a bedrock of buoyant folk, maintaining twin senses of humor and self-reflection all the while. Bowles’ mission to press against the edges of traditional forms is a founding tenet of Hopscotch, and this trio does it with inspiring spirit.
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