New Music Tuesday: If You Give An Angry Bear A Fifth of Jim Beam And A Tin of Sucrets Edition

Note: New Music Tuesday highlights something I’ve been listening to regularly during the week prior. I like it. I include critical comments both positive and negative to demonstrate my independent ignorance of musical convention.

If you do as the title of this post suggests, the sound produced might be something like the voice of Chris Senseney, the golden gravel voice behind the husband-and-wife duo Big Harp.

Album: Chain Letters

Artist: Big Harp

Label: Saddle Creek (Bright Eyes, Azure Ray, The Mynabirds)

Release Date: January 22, 2013

Where I Found It: Pause and Play weekly email newsletter

What The Critics Are Saying: 

“The opening track, ‘You Can’t Save ‘Em All’ sounds like mix of an old school country tune and a Cormac McCarthy book. Its dark, brooding and has this grinding lick to it. But weirdly enough it bounces along with lovely harmonies from Stefanie – has a kicking guitar solo in it as well.” (


“Mr. Senseney’s underrated vocals are still achingly phenomenal, spanning the range of guttural Gospel wailings at the fuzzed out crescendo of ‘It’s Easy to Be Strange’ to the low and raspy march in ‘Call Out The Cavalry, Strike Up The Band’. (


“The sound of Chain Letters is built around Stefanie’s bass; it’s the glue on this album.” (Thom Jurek, Rdio)

Apparently there was a stunning debut record a couple of years ago, but I missed it, so I have no basis for comparison. This, though, is so good it makes me want to cuss. In particular, “Bar All The Doors” is a mental massage–with tree bark (“If you bar all of the doors/and curl up easy on your hardwood floor/they’ll just come through the window.”)