There is nothing ordinary about Sandstone. This private press folk/psych album (1971) is so head and shoulders above almost every other album in the genre, it’s hard to believe it’s not better known. The instrumentation and compositional style are reminiscent of heavy English folk hitters like Mellow Candle, Pentangle, and Heron. The Sandstone album was not a major label production like those records. But the local studio at which it was recorded must have been quite high end, because the production quality is astounding. Nearly everyone involved in these recordings was younger than eighteen, but there’s very little evidence of that: the music is well constructed, and no aspect of it is without sophistication well beyond the years of its creators. The three teens behind this music (David Sheirer, Laurie Braunstein, and Mario Grella) molded a seamless compound of British trad-folk with themes of American antiquity, from pilgrims’ progress to Civil War tragedies to the tainting of their unspoiled valley. Poetic lyrics, haunting female vocals, and judicious use of string sections, all serve Sandstone’s entirely original compositions: the result is a dreamy, wistful mood that calls to you across the decades. After weeks of recording, overdubs, and mixing, the album was sent off to be manufactured. Sadly, the band only had cash enough for around 300 copies. Other than a few college radio spins for “Flute Player”, barely anyone heard Can You Mend A Silver Thread? outside of their inner circle. A monumental accomplishment nonetheless! From the cover to the instrumentation to the deeply strange and lovely lyrics, maybe the truest folk/psych music that these shores ever produced.
Our Lion Productions edition (courtesy of Numero Group) includes two bonus tracks, out-takes from the album sessions. Booklet has the band’s story and lyrics and is printed on FSC recycled, chlorine-free, 100% post-consumer fiber paper, manufactured using biogas energy.