Red Sled Choir is a musical project under the direction of Matt Gordon (New Paltz, NY/Hudson Valley area). He has released a handful of albums under this moniker. His sound takes influences from French folk music and contemporary American folk and indie. Characterized by songs that often revolve around accordion, the music also boasts a rhythmic and percussive signature that makes it stand out in its class. I imagine the percussion to be pieces of an ex-roommates drum set used in various bedrooms, muted by old t-shirts. There are stomps and handmade sounds. Sometimes you may hear an unidentifiable rustling or the presence of a toy being wound. Bells wander in here and there like street lamps coming on in a snow storm. Somewhat lo-fi, occasionally ambient; sounds like 8 track home recordings guided by experienced hands, able to place mics in the right place.
Red Sled Choir’s latest full length, Swim Smoke, features a powerful collection of songs that travel well with a listener. I played this album probably ten times in a row while chuggin’ along in my van. After seeing Gordon perform twice in the Midwest with the duo well-worn and speaking with him about the album, I gathered that many of the songs were born during his time spend working on farms in Southeast Ohio and Vermont. I don’t know why but this album makes me think of Cattails in the wind rather than feeding pigs or turning dirt. It’s just the image I get. Swim Smoke features an assortment of mostly acoustic instruments (accordion/banjo/guitar) taking turns providing counter melody and background to Gordon’s unique bellow-style singing. Clarinet (Cheryl Ernst) and backing vocals (Sarah Ayton) are woven in as well. The album is released on CD format with a recycled cardboard CD jacket. It features a crisp, legible screen print on the front/inside flap/back and a full color copied lyric sheet inside a dye cut pocket. Durable and very DIY. Check out Red Sled Choir’s music.