By: Emily J Ramey
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
With Black Crowes’ frontman Chris Robinson producing their debut in addition to an opening slot on both The Crowes’ and The Avett Brothers’ most recent headlining tours, Truth & Salvage Co. seems destined for big things. And as a six-man Americana rock band, they have some pretty distinctive chops to offer the music scene as well.
“Hail Hail,” the album opener, rapidly becomes a contagiously anthemic tune, with balmy harmonies and chummy lyrics like, “Hail! Hail! The gang’s all here/With their heads full of reefer and their bellies full of beer/Sixteen years of livin’ the dream/We’re the pride of all our families.” The current single “Call Back” is a warm, organ-rich ballad, complete with dynamic instrumentals and a generous melody. “Welcome to LA” ironically twangs a little more eagerly than other tracks, but in a Beach Boys (not Randy Travis) sort of way.
“See Her” begins brightly with a sweaty, Allman Brothers-ish guitar riff and finishes with Dylan-esque heartbreak saturating the lyrics. “Old Piano” smolders and curls upward like blue-grey smoke on a humid night. The antique piano complements Katy Perry’s guest vocals in a resonantly melancholy fashion. “101” is a dusty and subtle second-listen gem; “Rise Up” boasts a fantastically tight guitar-riddled instrumental section. And album closer (and my personal favorite) “Pure Mountain Angel” is chillingly poignant, with lines striking an agonizingly humanistic core: “He was a drifter, farmer, and a singer./Had stories to tell, but he kept ‘em to himself ‘cause he knew that nobody would understand the anger./He asked for this living of concrete and wealth, singing ‘hi-de-hey,’ let the walls tumble in.”
T&SC has assembled a collection of full-flavored lyrical marvels, and on top of that, has powered these tunes with swampy instrumentals and spirited performances. As a debut album, Truth & Salvage Co. is a wonder, but more importantly, a stepping stone. Keep a sharp eye for these boys; I feel an Americana revival a-brewin’.
Emily J Ramey is a burgeoning young music writer, living and working in Nashville, TN. Her background includes journalism classes at New York University and a Music Business degree from Belmont University. Check out her blog at listenerextraordinaire.wordpress.com.
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