What’s new: Circles Around the Sun, “Let It Wander”

by Jon E. Lynch

Now that we, as a community, have had to watch our local record store close its doors for good, some might expect me to revisit and lament this sad fact each and every week in my record review. This would be easy, true, but wouldn’t do any of us much good. The wound is still relatively fresh, so the sting is still very much there, but I promise to avoid ripping that particular bandage off each week, over and over, never to let it properly heal. That will take time.

So, how does one move on? For many, the most pressing question we are left dealing with is some variation of, “Where do I go for my music now?” I’m old fashioned, I suppose. I’m less likely to rely on the “pay for play” type algorithms of streaming services to learn about new music. I like to talk to actual people (gasp!) ABOUT music. I like to listen to local college and community radio (full disclosure: I work for ours here in Durango) to hear what’s new and what like-minded people are digging. This is a fantastic way to learn about new artists and albums.

Which brings me to this week’s release. A few years back, a trusted radio DJ with an amazing and enviable radio program turned me on to a band, Circles Around the Sun (also known simply as CATS). CATS’ sole purpose was to create music to be played as interludes for a run of Grateful Dead shows, post-Jerry Garcia, during the summer of 2015, billed as Fare Thee Well. The amazingly talented ensemble of musicians consists of guitarist Neal Casal, keyboardist Adam MacDougall (Casals’ band mate in the Chris Robinson Brotherhood), bassist Dan Horne, and drummer Mark Levy. The music is entirely instrumental, dense, and lush, with a thread of the to-be-expected jam band extended grooves. The first album, aptly titled “Interludes for the Dead,” was an unexpected success, and led to this recording session and a second collection of similarly conceived cuts. I didn’t anticipate enjoying that first album as much as I did, so I was less than surprised to hear news of this follow-up. While not for everyone, the musicianship is undeniable and I am certainly grateful for the suggestion. Give it a listen yourself to decide if it’s for you or not. I welcome your thoughts on the album(s), and you can email them to me at the address below.

“Let It Wander” is available for pre-order via Rhino Records, and will be released on August 17 as a digital download in various formats, on compact disc, and as a limited edition double vinyl LP.

Recommended for fans of The Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Beachwood Sparks, Chris Forsyth & the Solar Motel Band, Steve Gunn, and any of the intersecting Grateful Dead musical projects and products.

Jon E. Lynch[email protected]


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