High-elevation Americana from the Colorado Plateau
Pilcrowe's 'West of Center' a cinematic blend of rock and folk
Pilcrowe, based in Flagstaff, Arizona, is part of a musical continuum that began more than a decade ago. Drummer Andrew Lauher and guitarist Ryan Heinsius have collaborated for years in other projects like Crow Wing and the Voluntary String Band. But Pilcrowe has remained a steadfast focus for the duo with a 2022 EP, The Big Burn, under their belts and now a full-length album, West of Center, released by the band’s own Woody Mountain Records on Oct. 27, 2023. The LP’s nine original tracks blend the acoustic earthiness of folk music and singer-songwriter Americana with an electrified punch that Pilcrowe has developed through playing countless live shows across the country in its many forms over the years.
“Their songs radiate an atmosphere of freedom, departure, the vastness of untouched nature and a longing for humanity. In the stunning landscape of the Colorado Plateau, Ryan Heinsius and Andrew Lauher have recorded a thrilling debut … An electrifying Americana album that presents a courageous, critical and creative voice of America living far west of the US-mainstream.”
“There is energy and obvious skill in the playing of both partners, and a lot of care has been taken over their craft … for some aficionados of college American rock or widescreen Americana, ‘West of Center’ is likely to prove a hidden trove of guitar-driven nuggets.”
“Pilcrowe’s sound is truly their own: a balance of woodsy wanderlust and rebel-on-the-run, psychedelic and cinematic, western, indie, alternative and rock. The songs reflect images of a harsh but beautiful West and the music is often just as beautiful yet surprising.”
“One can observe a slight western twang between Heinsius’ ‘Pink-Floyd-esque’ guitar excursions. Listeners are kept on their toes by Lauher’s sharp, yet adventurous beats. There’s a drifting feeling, a bit of grit, mystery and drama in Pilcrowe’s sound.”
–Arizona Daily Sun
West of Center
West of Center
The album’s title track, “West of Center” focuses on the many conflicts, contradictions and conundrums inherent in living in the modern Mountain West. It’s a place that’s outside mainstream America in many ways with its own set of values, priorities and passions.
How are the thousands of humanity’s generations connected? Or do they exist independent of one another? This song was inspired by the poetry of author Hermann Hesse and reflects on the connective tissue that binds people through the centuries and beyond.
The arid and complex Four Corners region includes the meeting point of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. And it, like all of the Southwest, is also Indigenous land. “Four Corners” is a meditation on home and what it means when that’s taken away or threatened, making refugees of mind, body and spirit.