When I was in junior high I remember flipping through my older sister’s high school yearbooks (especially at the seniors), every town’s stereotypical compendium of big hair and meaty mama’s boys. But I can still vividly remember the one artsy kid; his facial hair half-stubble, half-wisp, limp shoulder length hair, the black-and-white photograph rendered with ultra-high contrast, his blurb an exquisite mash-up of Tolkien and Syd Barrett. I do believe Birch Book’s John Michael B’eirth (who also goes by B’ee) could be that kid all grown up, and it makes me so happy. I don’t have any explanations for the sudden explosion in popularity of fantasy/Ren Fair-laced rural folk, but it’s fascinating nonetheless. Fortune & Folly is reportedly less medieval than his other project, In Gowan Ring, but it still floats tunes like “Zephyr Through Willows” and “New Song” down a river of mead like so many paper lanterns. And all kidding aside, B’eirth’s tunes are lovely, worthy cohabitants of the psych-folk world pioneered by Incredible String Band et al. “The Wandering Boy” talks about a boy with a “lute upon his back / a feather in his cap,” an image that is a whole lot sillier than it’s intended to be—but endearing nonetheless. Creative anachronism is escapism built for this kind of soundtrack.
"PopMatters is looking for smart music writers. We're looking for talented writers with deep genre knowledge of music and its present and…READ the article