The record opens with ‘Make Us Stay’ which is a classic harmony based country blues song. The song itself has all the spirit and feel of an old dust bowl rallying cry as the chorus pleads:
Who’s going to find us a good home, and where will we rest from the road? Oh my darling we will grow us a garden and it will make us stay.
‘Weight Of This World’ and ‘Fall With Me’ takes us deeper into Cajun territory with swirling accordion, big fiddle riffs and bouncy base lines. ‘Fall With Me’ in particular has a spectacular descending bass riff that drives along the chorus and makes it one of the most memorable songs on the record.
‘Weary Head’ opens with sombre and haunting banjo picking that mixed with Sparrow’s vocal phrasing sounds like it’s been lifted straight out of the English countryside. Meandering fiddle and guitar keep up the classic folk feel and develop the atmosphere of the song. This song could easily have sat comfortably in the soundtrack of the cult classic film ‘The Wicker Man’ such is the potency and feel of it.
The Resonant Rogues are: Sparrow – co-songwriter & bandleader, accordion, banjo. Keith J. Smith – co-songwriter & bandleader, guitar, percussion. Craig Sandberg – upright bass. Drayton Aldridge – fiddle. They list their influences as Balkan & Klezmer, Gypsy & Hot Jazz, and Old-Time. It is clear listing to them that there are all of the aforementioned plus more. They are a band who are hard to pigeon hole such is the musical diversification this record.
‘Break It Off’ uses a very Parisian sound and a call and answer chorus to great effect. Again, fiddle and some almost classical sounding guitar add something special to an already eclectic mix. ‘Waiting for the Rain’ is a deceptive song. Up-tempo beat, stunning fiddle and Mexican sounding horns almost hide the distinct downbeat message of the song. It is during this song we realise the unsung hero of this record is Drayton Aldridge. Charlie Daniels once told us “the Devil went down to Georgia” to challenge the best fiddle player to a duel. That fiddle player has just been bested and if the devil wants a new challenge he should head down to Asheville and trade some licks with Drayton.
‘Flowers’ has a real Appalachian / Irish sound to it with its catchy chorus and banjo playing while the ballad ‘Tomorrow’ closes the record and ends what is a damn near perfect collection of songs.
This record takes the listener through a lot of genres of music and combines them all to make a very unique sound that we’ll always associate with warm summer evenings outdoors under the stars with a glass of fine red wine, and much like that fine red we believe that The Resonant Rogues will mature with age and taste better each time we get to sample them.