Turner Cody

Buds of May (Digitalis Recordings)

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Turner Cody American folk Dylan

Turner Cody is commonly associated with "antifolk." This is a nebulous gaggle of singer-songwriters from New York who enjoy subverting the American folk tradition with big-city irony and indie amateurism.

But there's nothing "anti" about Cody's folk. While he does appear on Rough Trade's 2002 compilation Antifolk, Vol. 1, he isn't an urban novelty self-consciously dicking around with folk music. Rather, he's one of these out-of-time oddballs, like the Holy Modal Rounders or Jimmy Cousins, who really should've been born before the Depression.

Buds of May, Cody's eighth album, isn't quite as satisfying as 2005's The Great Migration. But it does flow with more of Cody's literary gobbledygook and cryptic narratives conflating the nonsensical and profound. The singer and guitarist definitely has a bit of early Dylan in him, except his image isn't that of a neo-Guthrie populist. He's an oil tycoon's black-sheep nephew — a Tin Pan Alley drunkard with a cynic's mind and a wounded heart.

But that's all a bit heavy, for Buds of May as well as The Great Migration succeed because Cody surrounded himself with the perfect little jazz-folk combo. He's a folkie who understands the importance of lyrics and music.

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