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A Hawk and a Hacksaw

Who? Relentless music-hunter Jeremy Barnes (drums/accordion/vocals), the ethno-indie everyman who has played with the likes of Broadcast, Bright Eyes, Beirut, and a little band called Neutral Milk Hotel — left his hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico at 18 and followed gypsy music’s dangling, weepy pocketwatch to far corners of France, England, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. He and Heather Trost (a violinist and member of the Nahalot Shalom Community Klezmer Orchestra) bonded over Bela Bartok records before setting out for the unpaved, unplumbed Moldovan village of Zece Prajini, where they recorded The Way The Wind Blows with acclaimed Balkan brass band, Fanfare Ciocarlia.

What’s the Deal? The Way The Wind Blows — something of a holy record (that is to say, religious) — begins and ends with a droning benediction: “May you live every day of your life.” The message, whether spoken or not, is implicit in the album’s pungent, old-world musk — its sad-eyed intimacy as thick as onions browning in a crowded shtetl hut. Sounds like Gogol Bordello at a New Orleans funeral.

Fun Fact: Jeremy Barnes had a temporary career as a postman in England when he lived over there, working for Royal Mail. DANIEL ARNOLD

Now Hear This: A Hawk and a Hacksaw – “God Bless the Ottoman Empire” DOWNLOAD MP3

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