Mark O’Bitz and Eric Anders don’t receive the plaudits their music commands. Hopefully, with their just-released album, American Bardo, they will garner the recognition the duo deserves.
Recorded in San Diego under the auspices of producer Mike Butler, who also produced and mixed, the album, American Bardo comprises 12-tracks of exquisitely pensive music.
A concept album, American Bardo was inspired by the novel of George Saunders, entitled Lincoln in the Bardo, which examines the emotional aftermath of the death of Lincoln’s son, Willie. ‘Bardo’ is the Buddhist interim state existing between death and rebirth.
After meeting at a show by Mark O’Bitz, the two singer-songwriters hooked up to make music together, generating wonderfully delicious, alluring songs residing in the Americana/indie-folk genre. Subsequently, they’ve released three excellent albums, including Of All These Things, Ghosts To Ancestors, and, here and now, American Bardo.
The duo has two releases still to come: an EP, This Mortal Farce, followed by a full-length album, Stuck Inside: Music in the Time of Coronavirus, slated to drop at the end of February.
American Bardo opens with “Matterbloomlight (Revisited),” a gorgeous song which Erica Garcia eloquently described: “With lyrics as true and honest, Anders and O’Bitz remind me of the way all the ways an acoustic guitar can fill your soul to the brim. The track is reminiscent with feelings of yesterday with hope for tomorrow and tells the most perfect, heartbreaking story – one that still needs to be heard.”
Other not-to-be-missed tracks include “Bury Me,” chock-full of soft graceful strings, and marvelous ghost-like tones, along with spectral guitar flavors. “A Home The I Can’t Know” delivers dripping fluxes of diaphanous colors, simultaneously delicate and captivating, lingering, and poignant.
“And On Love,” bathed in bluesy aromas blended with savors of country tints, draws listeners into its sonic embrace, primarily because of the low-slung braying of the organ. The mellow overlays of sound contained in “Won’t Live It Down,” reveal the moving anguish of Lincoln’s heartache.
Even though steeped in melancholy, the sheer beauty of American Bardo parades the vast talent of Mark O’Bitz and Eric Anders.