Album Review: Gypsy Lumberjacks – Giants of America
Sometimes we call bands or albums “eclectic” just to mean different, but really the word carries with it connotations of diversity. The Gypsy Lumberjacks are a truly eclectic band, offering both a mix of sounds as well as a mix of emotions. Giants of America is an album that will find friends among 90s bands like Rusted Root or Phish. They have a kind of eccentric internationalism to them that encourages movement.
The opener “Raise Your Dram” is an upbeat, global song. The rhythm is complicated and makes you want to move. Then the second song “Battles of the Frontiers” is a different sort of tune, much more relaxed. The lead vocalist reminds me of Zach Deputy. There’s a restrained familiarity in his voice that compliments the message of the songs nicely.
“Chasing the Sun” is definitely a dance beat. I am not familiar enough with classic dance styles to know the flavor of the song, but it’s definitely Latin influenced. “So off we go chasing the sun…” seems to be a song about pursuing dreams? It’s hard to say. “Bad Boy” again features some intriguing rhythms and great acoustic guitar work. The song is a confessional yet a celebratory song. Think of it as a sort of “I’ve got friends in low places” written as an island tune.
“Kill a Man” features an accordion and some really unique melodic patterns. I can guarantee you’ve never heard anything like it. The lyrics are extremely complex. “Elevators” also has a Latin flavor to it. Instead of the dancing feel of the other songs on the album, “Elevators” is a sit back and listen style track. As an instrumental, I found it a really intriguing inclusion on the album.
“Migration” has a lighter, even country sensibility to it. It feels like vast spaces and the complications of life. “You didn’t listen. You had your own idea of what’s my fate…” It seems like the kind of song written after a bitter breakup. “Love Her in the Morning” sounds like it was recorded in a bar. There’s a lot of background noise. The writing definitely has a country structure, taking it in a different direction than most of the album. The yee-hawing crowd element gives it a nice “bring down the house” feeling to end the album.
This is the type of album that definitely has a niche listener base. It will resonate particularly well with fans of alternative music with Latin flavor. It’s definitely not the typical folk music that we cover around here, but there are some nice guitar lines throughout the album. Fans of bands like Los Lonely Boys from the early 2000s might find Gypsy Lumberjacks to be a band of interest.