Singer-songwriter Cayce Lindner sports a thick gray beard, calls Northern California home, and plucks an acoustic guitar. This means most music writers are gonna describe his new project, Flying Canyon, as a symptom of this whole freak-folk, indie-hippie fad. And while Glenn Donaldson's production -- transforming doom-metal grooves into woodland dirges -- does lend a modern sound to Lindner's rustic folk rock, the dude truly possesses a fragile old soul. On "The Bull Who Knew the Ring," the voice reflectively muttering, "Bring me one last song for Jerry Lee/This old boat ain't gonna make it out to sea" feels as torn and frayed as Kris Kristofferson's during his "Sunday Morning Come Down." Meanwhile, the candlelight introspection of "Down to Summer" and "Revolver" recall the lush, summer-of-love balladry of the Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin -- "Today" and "Comin' Back to Me," in particular.
Then again, Lindner is no retro-revivalist still bemoaning the death of the '60s. His music hovers in a netherworld between the past and present, returning us to Donaldson's recording techniques, which further enhance Flying Canyon's not-this-but-not-that vibe. As a member of the ambient-drone outfit Thuja, the dude honed an aesthetic that can only be described as granola-industrial (picture exotic flora reclaiming rusted-out steel mills). It's a sound he applies masterfully to Lindner's tunes, making Flying Canyon's debut a true slice of American beauty.