Jackson Maloney: singer, songwriter, folk musician, and Colorado transplant via Northern California. The coarse-voiced busker has found himself a home in unincorporated Boulder County, at a place called Dharma Farm – a small commune near Hygiene, CO. The location, in fact, where Maloney recorded his latest EP entitled, Dharma Farm – a six track EP that encapsulates the simplicity of a working farm, which, after having been recorded in a ruined grain silo, ‘checks out.’ It’s a bare-boned, extended play that is completely comfortable with skimping on the pleasantries.
Track one, “Forever Like Athena,” as with most tracks on the album, opens with a stripped back acoustic lure, eventually interrupted by Maloney’s rustic vocals. Not expected was the Southern Baptist organ, an element that is effortlessly carried throughout the body of work.
For an album recorded in the vicinity of livestock, it is clear either Maloney, or his production guy, has an ear for arrangement. To even attempt the layering of organs, organic synths, pleasant picking, and sandy vocal changes with the hopes of creating a listenable piece, would be a sizable risk. Luckily for Maloney, it wasn’t bologna. Almost every part of this album is perfectly arranged, complete with mature lyrics, and a knack for storytelling. Maloney even proves himself with some early David Gilmour-esque sensibility, as can be heard on “Thank God I Can Still Sing,” and “Yellow Rain.”
It’s difficult to pick much of anything wrong with Dharma Farm, perhaps aside from ‘poppy’ chord progressions in “It’ll All Make Sense Someday.” In seriousness, the EP itself, nicely fits the transient Americana folk rock mold, yet is able to break free in the most peculiar of ways. Echoes of Floyd, Dylan, and Jerry are stringed throughout the EP. Dharma Farm may make its way into our standard rotation, at least for now.
Dharma Farm is out now. Catch Jackson Maloney live, state-wide this month: in Niwot September 12, Salida September 17, Buena Vista September 17 and in Durango September 19. Visit jacksonmaloney.com for show details and more.