Art from the heart

In the tradition of haunting, Southern pastoralists Smoke and Cat Power, and the archaic folk-art indigenous to Georgia's verdant landscape, Hope For Agoldensummer revels in slow-burning surrealism. The group's debut, I Bought A Heart Made of Art in the Deep, Deep South, is a humid and homespun affair that unfolds without artificial barriers. Frontwoman Claire Campbell's voice resonates with husky exhaustion. Joined by guitarist and sister Page Campbell, drummer Jamie Shepard, Cellist Will Taylor and guitarist Deb Davis, HFAGS's sound is a jeweled and gentle wind that balances soft and unsettling tones.

From the opening timbre of "Heart of Art" that gives way to the lumbering pace maintained throughout the recording, there's a natural sincerity to the group's presence that has attracted a sizable following. "It's like grabbing a fistful of dirt," says Shepard. "It's real and gritty — some people think it's too raw — but there's something there that people identify with."

Upholding a fiercely DIY approach the group oversaw every detail of the recording. "We all have a very strong vision of what the music should sound like and how it should be presented," adds Shepard.

As the group's following continues to grow, the delicate balance of art and commerce is always a concern. Labels have begun courting the group, but as Shepard explains, no one is in a hurry to make any hasty decisions: "There's an infrastructure in place that's beyond our control: advertising etc. We just don't want to do anything stupid."Just as the fires of industry never took root in the deep, deep South, the future of the group remains unrefined and unhurried.???? Hope For Agoldensummer plays the Earl Thurs., Aug. 26. 9:30 p.m. $6.