Starry Mind (Drag City)
Pat Gubler, a veteran of the now-defunct New York avant/psychedelic-folk group Tower Recordings who performs and records as P.G. Six, has gradually updated his sound over the course of a decade and five solo albums. Initially a solo guitarist, by the time of 2007’s Slightly Sorry, Gubler had accumulated a full band, which, in a potentially confounding twist, is also now known as P.G. Six.
The new collective reaches its full potential on Starry Mind, the first P.G. Six disc since Slightly Sorry. Guitarist Bob Bannister provides expressive counterpoint—part Richard Thompson, part Richard Lloyd—to Gubler’s twangy folk picking. Bannister stars on Starry Mind—his full, textured leads are the heart of “January,“ the band’s take on an old Irish traditional song, and the dark soul-folk of “Letter,” as well as the Crazy Horse-style country-rock stampede that opens “Palace” and the classic rock stomp of “Wrong Side of Yesterday.”
Starry Mind is a refined, even conservative album, especially considering Gubler’s out-there career; it has the same kind of half-nostalgic perspective on ’70s British folk-rock that bands like Fairport Convention and Pentangle had on traditional British folk music. But the disc bristles with energy and invention.