Boomkat Product Review:
High plains drifter William Fowler Collins meets Wooden Wand’s James Jackson Toth beneath wide-open, inky-skied scapes superimposing Americana with raging noise and drones.
“Under Stars and Smoke is the soundtrack to an imaginary landscape wherein various “actual” locales are thematically superimposed atop one another to suggest new, alien terrain. Both the New Mexico-based William Fowler Collins and the Kentucky-based James Jackson Toth find a great deal of inspiration in their adopted home regions: While Collins translates via mighty drones the vast, occasionally unforgiving mesas of the American southwest, Toth bends and blends the sounds and textures of traditional bluegrass and mountain music. Complete with frame-worthy “pastoral psychedelia” cover art by visual artist Claudia X. Valdes, Under Stars & Smoke is an album as explicitly American and distinctly postmodern as the maverick artists who created it.
This is the debut collaborative release from the duo. James Jackson Toth appears under the moniker Wooden Wand, and in countless collaborations, on over a hundred records, and in 2015 founded, with his wife Leah, the experimental label Footfalls Records. William Fowler Collins is composer/musician and recording artist whose work explores and synthesizes both musical and extra-musical elements. Collins has released music on the SIGE, Type, Handmade Birds, Daymare, Digitalis and Root Strata labels. Current projects include collaborations with Aaron Bradford Turner and Raven Chacon (in Mesa Ritual).”