Finally, in 2018, the full and correct version of Currituck Co.'s fourth album is made public. The operating handle of guitarist Kevin Barker, one of the best players to emerge from the Mid-Atlantic völk underground of the early oughts, Currituck Co. cut five albums between 2000 and 2005, all of which are gorgeous. The original CD version of Sleepwalks, however, released by Track & Field in 2004, was shorn of a couple of tracks and featured re-recorded vocals Kevin always thought were a bit naff. So Feeding Tube offered to right the grievous wrong. The result is this beauty, which has a few extra instruments (like cello by Fern Knight), but is mostly just Kevin on acoustic, electric and vocals.
There's always been a Jansch-ian vibe to Kevin's work, which is made explicit here by a great cover of Bert's "Silly Woman." More often it's Kevin's guitar picking that sounds haunted by Jansch, with cleanly complex melodies and slippery string shifts. But the way he blends shards of electric amp squeal into the background is uniquely his own. There might be some parallels to certain moments in Ben Chasny's work, but Kevin's genteel vocals have a lost '72 Americana thing going on that is thoroughly great.
Kevin may remain best known for his work as a sideman with Vetiver, Antony & the Johnsons, Joanna Newsom and so on, but Currituck Co. is certainly worth taking notice of and the hot smoke of this album should show you why.