On their fifth album—and after a few years of struggling with various obstacles—Cameron Hood and Ryan Green have pressed the refresh button.
And the opening track, "Red Line Reel," acts as something of an introduction to the latest phase of the Tucson-based duo's career. The spritely 1 1/2-minute instrumental track has the quality of a classic Leo Kottke composition, pastoral and intricate.
This leads into "How to Let It Go," which unflinchingly confronts emotions such as jealousy, anxiety and hubris. Hood and Green purge such debilitating feelings, embrace being themselves and rediscover their artistic voices. Touchy-feely, sure, but Ryanhood bring a convincing intimacy to the song by placing it in the context of their trademark acoustic folk-pop sound, which will remind some listeners of the work of Dan Fogelberg and Simon & Garfunkel.
Speaking of sentimental, "Sickbed Symphony" allows a father to give death-bed advice to his sons, in the form of a musical metaphor, but Hood's vocal delivery brings an affecting authenticity. Throughout, they play furiously together. Green's melodic leads and solos often provide the highlights, such as on the glowing instrumental "Dillinger Days."