Najas’ “Gift Horse”: A Haunting Folk Rock Journey into the Shadows

Najas, a captivating folk rock duo hailing from the rural landscapes of Powers, Oregon, weaves a musical tapestry that transports listeners into the heart of their evocative storytelling. Lead singer and guitarist Myco Stassens, accompanied by his niece Meadow Stassens on banjo and vocals, forms the creative core of this hauntingly soulful musical venture. With their latest release, “Gift Horse,” Najas delves into the depths of poetic introspection, taking listeners on a journey that traverses the vast landscapes of folk and rock with an intimate touch.

Gift Horse (Sketch)” emerged as a glimpse into the duo’s forthcoming single, providing a stripped-down and raw version of their upcoming musical offering. Najas’ songs reflect an unyielding search for solace, akin to the water plants from which they derive their name, only to find themselves lost amidst the brown grass, wildfire smoke, and the ghosts of personal histories. Their storytelling draws inspiration from ghost stories and folklore, while their musical palette incorporates elements of classic rock, the high lonesome sound, and the timeless essence of American folk.

Myco Stassens cites influences such as Neil Young, Elliott Smith, and Nick Drake, which echo through the introspective melodies and poetic lyricism of “Gift Horse.” The song, released on July 7th, 2023, paints a vivid picture of hands grasping a bridle, traversing wild moors while encountering a sense of lurking malevolence. Myco’s haunting voice, accompanied by intricate guitar strumming, creates an atmosphere drenched in introspection and melancholic beauty.

Myco Stassens’ lyrics in “Gift Horse” showcase his poetic prowess, with lines like “Hands in a bridle tear up the wild moor” serving as a testament to his ability to craft vivid imagery. His lyrical poetry strikes a chord, delving into themes of ownership, sacrifice, and the weight of obligations. Each verse unfolds like a chapter from a captivating storybook, painting a haunting picture of desolate landscapes and spectral encounters.

The interplay between Myco’s intricate guitar strumming, his haunting vocals and Meadow’s banjo work, exemplifies the artistry behind Najas’ music. As the song progresses, the band’s full-bodied instrumentation amplifies the emotional depth, enveloping the listener in an immersive sonic experience. It is within these musical layers that the true power of “Gift Horse” comes to life, captivating the senses and eliciting a profound emotional response.

I, for one, am looking forward to any upcoming release from this duo.

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