The Low Anthem show preview (Seattle Weekly)

Thanks to the wide array of organic instruments its members use, the Low Anthem is often referred to as a “folk” group. And perhaps in the strictest sense of the word, “folk music” is indeed the music the Low Anthem makes, in that the group’s songs draw on decades of American music for inspiration. However, the presence of acoustic guitars, pump organs, harmonicas, mandolins, and, yes, cowbells should not trick you into thinking that the Low Anthem conducts some sort of traditionalist foray into the sounds of the backwoods and hollows. Their latest album, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin(recently reissued on Nonesuch) is a decidedly modern take on acoustic music; the group’s studio-as-instrument philosophy morphs any folksiness into a warm, ethereal sound, emotionally engaging and often sonically challenging. Live, the Low Anthem brings a full complement of instruments for the three members to play, resulting in a crowded stage and an occasionally frustrated sound engineer, as well as a much more visceral take on their music. With Ryan Montbleau Band. Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., 324-8000. 8 p.m. $10 adv./$12 DOS

First appeared Oct. 13, 2009 in Seattle Weekly.

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