Three Americana Bands To Be Thankful For
Sometimes people get a tad overzealous at holiday time. But with Thanksgiving, I’m not sure you really can have too much of a good thing. I mean, maybe too much of that jellied cranberry stuff. I mean that can’t be good for you. But the turkey and taters and veggies? Pile it on. Anyways, you can never have too much good, delicious Americana music either. Here are three Americana bands on the rise that you really should be listening to you. Yes, you. Now stop dreaming of turkey and enjoy these sweet, succulent sounds.
FY5 – Finnders & Youngberg – Eat the Moon
-From the opening line, it’s apparent that the quality on this album is through the roof. Think about some of the more conventional stuff from Nickelcreek several years ago. That’s what FY5 does. It’s a full album of amazing vocals, great strings, and wonderfully engaging stories. This is not just a “must hear,” this is a “must own and share with everyone” kind of album. Frankly, it deserves its own review, but I decided to put these talented musicians on this feature to help spread the word. Fiddle, steel guitar, and vocals are all at absolute all star levels. This is a band to follow (and enjoy) for sure. (And not to be outshone, check out the banjo on “Desert Bluebell.”) I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sweet, sweet mandolin on the instrumental “Old Dog Waltz,” too. It’s hard to pick favorites on an album that is just so good.
The Slocan Ramblers – Coffee Creek
-The PR materials on the Slocan Ramblers call them “gritty” and I think I agree with that. They probably hear this comparison all the time, but if you happen to like the music on Oh Brother Where Art Thou then you’ll love the Slocan Ramblers. They are talented, have a sense of narrative, and seem to have a real knack for good melodies with well placed harmonies. The track “Call Me Long Gone” is extraordinarily fun. The stand up bass, strumming mandolin, and heavenly harmonies really make the sound pop… then the banjo solo steals the show. “Rambling Sailor” feels like a classic Irish tune. “Angeline” reminds me of something that could have come out of the 60s folk tradition (despite a clear bluegrass styling). All told, this is the kind of album that you’ll want to hear over and over. [Point of clarification – they’re from Canada, so technically their music is Canadiana. But whatever they still sound amazing with Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy.]
Bumper Jacksons – Too Big Mama
-One of the criticisms I’ve heard of Americana music is that it all sounds the same, which is a ridiculously ignorant thing to say since it’s such a diverse genre. But I can guarantee you’ve never heard anyone like the Bumper Jacksons. They’re equal parts classic sounds (like 40s jazz band) and five piece country swing band. The sound really works well. I mean, from the beginning of the album the trombone and clarinet steal the show. The lead vocal’s “classic” quality really helps the overall feel as well. They’re a band I wouldn’t be at all surprised to hear romping their way down Bourbon Street in New Orleans. At a robust sixteen tracks, listeners are not likely to get bored with this album. Each track taking its own take on classic American music, there are no formulaic or mundane tracks here. Even passing lead between different artists makes the Bumper Jacksons and endless joy of listening. This album is like a jukebox of early American music history; try not to miss it.