Six years after Cloud Room, Glass Room, American musician Mark Nelson announced his return with the project Pan American. A Son is out on November 8th via Kranky Records. “Memphis Helena” is the first excerpt.According to the press release, Motivated by notions of “moving backward” and tracing roots – as well as a couple years of hammered dulcimer lessons – the album’s nine songs were written and recorded in his home in Evanston, Illinois, and honed during a recent solo tour in Europe.
The emphasis on uncluttered arrangements and the centrality of the guitar and vocals reveal these songs as the most direct and emotional statement of his career. Nelson cites everything from June Tabor, The Carter Family, Suicide and Jimmy Reed as oblique inspirations, though his truest muse was creative self-inquiry: “What does music do, Where does music start? How simple can it be? How honest can it be?”