Review: Green Mistletoe - Forest Dweller (2007)


artist: Green Mistle­toe
release: Forest Dweller
format: CD
year of release: 2007
label: Little Some­body
dur­a­tion: 30:07

detailed info: dis​cogs​.com

Green Mistle­toe is the musical pro­ject of Amer­ican Brian Waters, and he plays a very relaxed kind of forest folk, with a pecu­liar mix­ture of Chris­tian and Hea­then them­at­ics. He has sev­eral releases, but this is one of his latest, on Little Some­body records. Once again, Little Somebody’s Pythag­u­mus comes with an excep­tional design, this time with a gor­geous green prin­ted line draw­ing on a card stock fol­dout digi­pack, as well as nice CD and lyr­ics inserts.

Brian’s music is based mostly on acous­tic gui­tar, per­cus­sion, and occa­sional other instru­ments like lap harp or zither. He also uses a wide range of vocal styles, some with more suc­ces than oth­ers. For example, I don’t really care for the dis­tor­ted low ‘mon­ster’ vocals on tracks like “13 Fire­woods”, which is oth­er­wise a great concept track: a trans­la­tion of a Gaelic folk­song edu­cat­ing the listener about the char­ac­ter of dif­fer­ent kinds of fire­wood. On the other hand, he sounds quite excel­lent on “Stone Ring in Open Glade”, which is also one of my favour­ite tracks on the album.

I also really dig the lyr­ical char­ac­ter of the tracks. More than many other artists, Brian really gets into areas of folk­lore, nature mys­ti­cism and reli­gion, and the like. And as men­tioned, there is a seam­less mix between ‘pagan’ and Chris­tian themes, as is per­haps best expressed by the lyr­ics on “Evoc­a­tion to Green Elo­him”:

Bey­ond this wall of stones lies a hid­den path
deep within the forest where I cre­ate a holy door,
my threshold between worlds where I pray
to my green Elo­him.

Music­ally the album never really gets truly excit­ing though. Most of it is relax­ing and pleas­ant, but nowhere excep­tional. Per­haps we can put this down to inex­per­i­ence? In any case, a little more fire­works wouldn’t have hurt Forest Dweller. All in all, this is a nice album though, espe­cially in terms of concept, lyr­ics, look, and atmo­sphere. If you’re into mys­tical foresty (neo)folk, this album is worth seek­ing out.

Reviewed by O.S.

Track­list:

1. Sky­bear (1:45)
2. Cymru (1:52)
3. Stone Ring in Open Glade (2:28)
4. Wood­land Trail to the Lake (3:13)
5. Y Golwg (the sight) (1:33)
6. 13 Fire­woods (1:36)
7. Cross­wise Cut the Apple in Two (1:35)
8. Igwja Dher (ygg­drasil) (3:33)
9. Evoc­a­tion to Green Elo­him (3:45)
10. Kateri, Lily of the Iriquois (2:25)
11. Mynd Am Dro Yn Coeden (to go for a walk in the woods) (1:45)
12. Forest Dweller (4:37)