This week on Transmissions, Jesse Sheppard and Drew Gardner, the psychedelic folk duo Elkhorn. Their new album, On the Universe In All Directions, finds Jesse once again at his familiar 12-string acoustic guitar, but instead of Drew joining with his trademark Telecaster, he’s moved over to vibraphone and drums for this outing. From Buddhism to John Fahey, from time slips to Aquarium Drunkard itself, this conversation unfolds and wanders, we hope you enjoy it.
With the remarkable On The Whole Universe In All Directions, Elkhorn continues its constant state of growth and mutation. Built on a solid foundation of drums, vibraphone, and booming 12-string guitar, it charts a path from American primitive folk-isms toward galactic, psychedelic cosmic vistas. The duo’s first Lagniappe Session offered a grab bag of interpretations of songs by the Dead, Sonic Youth, and Robbie Basho, but this one devotes itself fully to just one, epic-length composition: a cover of David Crosby’s “Guinnevere,” as played by Miles Davis.
Gardner picks up his guitar again for the amiably shaggy Flowers in Space, an album of four low-key liquid jams that all stretch out around the ten-minute mark. Recorded at the same 2019 Black Dirt sessions featured on Gardner’s excellent 2021 self-titled solo cassette, Flowers in Space further demonstrates the guitarist’s virtual telepathy with bassist Andy Cush (of Garcia Peoples) and drummer Ryan Jewell (of pretty much everything). It was unexpected treat to get another slab of sympathetic magic from what amounts to a veritable dad psych supergroup.
On their excellent new album Distances, Elkhorn guitarists Jesse Shepherd (acoustic) and Drew Gardner (electric) lean into the rhythmic possibilities afforded by not one but two guest drummers: the Virginia-based Ian McColm and DC percussionist Nate Scheible. The result is an expansive set of tunes like “Wilderness,” which floats along a determined but peaceful groove before taking a left turn into knottier territory. Shepherd joins us here to share a DIY-crafted clip for the song, an unfolding collage that suits the song beautifully.
Further adventures from the Elkhorn crew. First, the self-titled new outing from Drew Gardner, the electric half, who’s joined by Ryan Jewell and Andy Cush for a set of laid-back instrumental workouts. Then, Elkhorn’s live gem Southern Star, recorded early in 2020.
For their inaugural Lagniappe Session, guitar duo Elkhorn take on the traditional ballad “Morning Dew,” as heard by Bonnie Dobson via Garcia, the aforementioned Robbie Basho, Dave Holland, Sonic Youth, and a new traditional song, “John Henry,” often heard as a ballad and a hammer song or work song.
The Elkhorn adventure continues, hot on the heels of last year’s stellar double LP. This time around, Jesse Shepard and Drew Gardner have recruited multi-instrumentalist Turner Williams (who records under the Ramble Tamble moniker) for an extremely heady journey. On The Storm Sessions, the tried-and-true formula remains in place, with Shepard’s earthy 12-string keeping things grounded while Shepard’s shimmering electric playing ventures into the slipstream.
Elkhorn, the powerful instrumental duo of Jesse Sheppard and Drew Gardner are back with two slabs of transcendent goodness . Only this time around, they’re not just a duo. On these simultaneously recorded / individually […]
Elkhorn is just two guys with guitars – Jesse Shephard on acoustic 12-string and Drew Gardner on electric – but the duo packs a lot of music into The Black River , […]