March 2, 2006

Elliott Brood's Ambassador

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Leave it to a few Canadians to capture the dark and dusty ethos of the rural American south. Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso, and Stephen Pitkin have created suitably brooding melodies in their album, Ambassador. Judging from their website the group has a creepy morbid streak. According to legend the band name, Elliott Brood, originated from a senseless murder in which the assailant comments, as he is shoveling his victim into a shallow grave, “So long Mr. Elliott Brood, and thanks for the songs.” Still the careworn twanging of the banjo and guitar almost made me reconsider that generic statement “I like everything except country.” That was until I heard their tune “Jackson,” which laments the Confederates’ retreat in the Battle of Jackson, 1863. Apparently the battle was a huge blow to the morale of Confederated Army, as the song expresses with doleful sighs. These musicians are completely misguided in their choice of ballad. The seeming nostalgia for the Confederate South that “Jackson” seeks to create is offensive.

Archived article by Claire Readhead