Tin Hat Trio: Book of Silk

Bob Burnett: Book of Silk has grown on me in such a way that its become one of my primary "go-to albums." That means—one: it makes a perfect segue when I have my iPod on shuffle. Two: it makes for great listening when I’m just about anywhere. Three: it makes a great album to suggest to just about anyone. Book of Silk offers many a chance to expand into something you usually wouldn’t discover on your own.

I’m glad to write up this album now even though at this point it is several years old, because if you like it you’ll be happy to know the Tin Hatters (now known simply as Tin Hat) have another due for release in late January 2007. I’d call their sound understated-by-choice, small-ensemble acoustic music. It blends a number of sounds: acoustic guitar, clarinet, accordion, violin, prepared and toy pianos, celeste, marxophone, harmonica, viola, trumpet-violin, dobro, and banjo, to become at times bluesy, other moments open and abstract, sometimes touching and warm. Think the ingenuity of the Penguin Café Orchestra brought into perspective with a clever ensemble like Evan Lurie’s masterwork Selling Water by the Side of the River (as an aside, why is that album and many others from the Antilles label no longer available?), with a slight nod to Carla Bley’s and Ennio Morricone’s arrangements, and you get what’s going on here. Plus, one of the cuts is titled "Elliot Carter Family," and how great is that?

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