Zach Condon's backstory, in which he left a small city to travel around Europe with his older brother, absorbing the indigenous music of the eastern part of the continent, reads like something that might have happened fifty years ago at the height of the early folk scene in Greenwich Village. When Condon returned to New Mexico, he went to school, and, while recording what became demos for his first album, Gulag Orkestar, met Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost of A Hawk and a Hacksaw and recruited them to help complete his album. While many other artists mining a similar vein try to emulate the purity of another time, Condon excels at taking what might be considered "old-timey" music and innovates with the raw materials found there.

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