Keep Me on Your Mind/See you Free by Bonny Light Horseman album review by Ethan Rebalkin for Northern Transmissions


Keep Me on Your Mind/See you Free

Bonny Light Horseman

Bonny Light Horseman’s new double LP and Jagjaguwar debut Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free might be the perfect album to end your Spring on. The acclaimed trio of Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson, and Josh Kaufman return on their most joyous and celebratory listen to date. Every song is a brush stroke filled with familiar themes and welcoming melodies. It has moments to appease the faint of heart, and other moments for when your heart is feeling too faint and needs something to lift you up!

“Keep Me on Your Mind” eases you into the album perfectly. Warbling synth, and the light plucking of guitars sit ambiently along a very subtle percussion section until Mitchell’s intimate delivery makes itself comfortable. As a song, “Keep Me on Your Mind” is incredibly sparse. There’s never too much or too little going on. Perfectly delicate, leaving enough room for harmonies to float in and out. “Lover Take It Easy” ups the ante, but only ever so slightly. Piano lines toss and turn next to the strum of an acoustic guitar while Johnson shares a simple love story. A saxophone even enters the mix, providing a bellowing, demanding texture to the otherwise soft landscape.

“I Know You Know” is what I meant when I said “moments for when your heart is feeling faint and needs something to lift you up.” Harkening back to the iconic songwriting of Carole King, or James Taylor, “I Know You Know” has the makings of a classic, and really flex’s the songwriting prowess of this bunch. “Old Dutch” is another spacious moment in the tracklist. Screeching cymbals and pillowy synth’s work as the backdrop for Mitchell to work her way into the song. I love the trading of vocal passages in this song. It makes the moments that Johnson and Mitchell come together to harmonize all the more glorious.

Middle-aged confessions never sound cooler than on “When I was Younger.” “When I was younger, I used to drink wine / Now that I’m older, I’m rockin’ the cradle,” Mitchell accepts over meditative piano. It’s an intimate cut, featuring a fiery, Neil Young-esque guitar solo and the background noise of someone clearing their throat. Moment’s like this really bring you into the room with the band, and make it feel like they’re performing the song for you in your living room. For Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free they had a recording process that wasn’t too far off from recording in a living room. Levis Corner House in Ballydehob, Ireland was where they recorded the music. A small, crammed space that was filled wall to wall with bits and bobs. A painting on the wall, coincidentally nicknamed Bonnie, even made its way as the album artwork. Speaking of Ireland, “Hare and Hound” has a real clear cut celtic sound to it. An irresistible shuffling guitar sits under a sparkling mandolin, while Johnson and Mitchell repeat the line “everywhere under the sun, our love is gonna run.”

Album closer “See You Free” encapsulates the essence of the project really well. Love, uncertainty, faith; all bottled up in a hymn like presentation. There are some major end-credit energy, akin to “Take the Long Way Home” by Supertramp and I absolutely adore it. “I saw the kids we once were, in that picture you sent me, cuppin a cig on the fire escape, reelin a line of laundry.” BLH has an uncanny ability to make the most mundane scenes feel sentimental. And really, that might be what makes this album as intriguing and as enjoyable as it is. All the themes are human. Relatable. Real stories. Nothing far fetched or unrealistic. Sprawling portraits of a life that we’ve all lived. Keep Me on Your Mind/See You Free is a captivating collection of songs that is absolutely worth the double album treatment.

Order Keep Me on Your Mind/See you Free by Bonny Light Horseman HERE

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