It’s always a treat to come across an exceptional new band or artist, especially when one seems to pop up seemingly out of nowhere. One ideal example is found in the form of the twosome that perform under the name Pyxus. Formed in February 2019, the duo consists of two remarkably talented brothers, Robert and Jake Myers, both of whom hail from the foothills of Western North Carolina. Jake plays guitar and Robert is on mandolin, and both brothers partake in the vocals and sibling harmonies. They mention on their website they’ve been performing since singing in the church choir in pre-K, but that they decided to make a full-time commitment to their music only three years ago.
Suffice it to say, they’ve come a long way in that relatively short time. Their sound transcends the boundaries between bluegrass, folk, and improvisational music, and though they are the only two players involved, their self-titled debut EP offers a remarkable example of ample instrumental ability. They weave tender tapestries with a low-cast finesse on songs such as Remembered, Beauty on the Eyes of the Beholder, and Hummingbird, imbuing each with their hushed harmonies and the supple picking of their respective instruments. It creates a lovely yet unassuming sound, one that requires those on the receiving end to lean in and listen in order to fully appreciate this enticing elocution.
That said, the Myers brothers don’t rely on beguiling melodies alone. Both are astute players, and when they intertwine their skills on the instrumentals, Guacamole Pond, Silver, and Bent Tree, the full extent of their dexterity becomes obvious. The two weave their way around one another with an assurance, capability, and complexity that recalls the work of the Punch Brothers and Béla Fleck while engaged in full flight. Theirs is a combination of craft and confidence that’s deft and determined all at the same time.
Although Pyxus have only taken the first step on their musical journey, it’s clear, even at the outset, that they’ve made rapid progress. It gives us cause to eagerly await what follows.