Album Review: Evergreen – Whole – A folk masterpiece tucked away in Edmonton

I am an unapologetically big fan of this band, Evergreen, from Edmonton. I found them last year and just can’t get enough. They have that magical factor that makes folk music stand out; the atmospheric guitars provide a basis to the lush vocals that win me over every time.

The opening track “A Beautiful View” is a driving folk rock song. It’s made for taking a drive over some beautiful landscapes. I enjoy the way it can take me to another place wherever I am sitting.

The following “Waterton” really gets into some Tallest Man on Earth style layered guitar work. Then when the vocal harmonies enter the track, I simply melt. The lead shifts over to a male who has a very smooth quality to his vocal, like a good whiskey. It’s such an unexpectedly gorgeous harmony mix after the first track being basically an acoustic solo piece.

“Innocence” is a softer, gentler song. You really have to concentrate to hear the lyrics, but the contemplative style is really interesting. It’s the most “typical” of folk music on the album. “Martin” keeps things pretty chill. The phrasing on this one is a bit different, more like reciting a poem than singing fluid lines. It works, though.

“Hearts Remain” opens with some of my favorite guitar work on the whole album. I don’t think there’s a fair comparison for style, but the mood of the piece reminds of early Bon Iver. The intimacy in the vocals allow the lightness of the guitars to feel even more satisfying.

“Willow” gives the lead vocal back to a female lead singer and it’s a beautiful voice. There’s a kind of country charm to her intonation. When the male harmony enters the track, there’s a specialness that is hard to explain. I imagine if June and Johnny were making music in 2019, they’d sound a little something like this.

“End of the World” was the song that I first heard from Evergreen that threw me back. The easy phrasing from the piano at the opening feels gentle, enticing even, and the soft vocal harmonies pull you right in. The listener just can’t be ready for what the lyrics have planned, urging thoughts about life’s temporality and sense of meaning. Entire college courses on existential philosophy can’t teach what this track does in just a few minutes.

The final track “Whole” leaves the album in a good place. It echoes the most common style of Evergreen’s writing – the contemplative electric guitar-based folk. There’s something inherently dreamy about the album so much so that you don’t need to hear every lyric to “get” what they mean.

There’s a philosophical element to this music that reminds me of a band called Jus Post Bellum. These types of under the radar folk bands are literally why ETTG exists. We’re so happy to have a chance to feature this exquisite album from Evergreen and we hope that you’ll take some time to enjoy the lush guitars and vocals that fill these satisfying, engaging songs.

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