Maple Run Band
MAPLE RUN BAND
Black Pasture Music
A Little Bit Country, A Dollop of Americana, Add Some Alt. and a Whole Lotta Harmonies and Love ……….
As regular readers know we try to get reviews out in week preceding release; but that’s not always for a million reasons; and that means some minor gems can get lost …… for which we apologise.
This nearly fell into that category; as it was already out in the wild world when the band sent us a sweet e-mail with a download attached. Although I didn’t really have the time to listen properly last weekend; as other albums from ‘Big Names’ were on my schedule; yet there was ‘something’ that drew me in.
So; on the way home last night I skipped through the album in the car – 30 seconds here; 10 seconds there and …….. the result is the Maple Run Band have been on heavy rotation around RMHQ as I ate breakfast; and I’m now penning my words while looking at the clock before going to work at mid-day!
I haven’t had time to research the band and the Press Release doesn’t say if this is a debut album or not; but that’s no matter …….. what I do know is that Maple Run Band are a quartet from Vermont and they just love Country Music in all its glory from Bluegrass through to Alt. and back again!
You’re Gonna Make Me Cry Again opens like a whirlwind; with Trevor Crist sounding all Travis Tritt as he implores his young lady not to leave him or she will make him cry for the very first time since Johnny Cash died.
Clever, huh? And it’s a proper Honky-Tonk toe tapper too.
Already; I love the way the band use ‘space’ on their songs; allowing the words and, indeed music to fill your senses without over powering you.
For a Country song, Ma Bell has a hefty dose of spice to the maudlin words and slow, waltz like tune. It’s a sad song at heart of course; but Crist and drummer Nicole Valour’s harmonies take you on a ghostly journey worthy of not just Gram and Emmylou but the Handsome Family too.
With that in mind I love the way Maple Run Band can squeeze the hell out of your heart one minute then crank the pace up a song later; which is what happens here as Independence Day, which follows is a rare doozy and is bound to be a 10 minute jam when played live.
When I discover new acts I always imagine what type of venue would suit them best; but with these crazy kids I can picture them playing Catch You Down The Line and Keep On Truckin’ in the bawdiest Roadhouse Bar West of the Mississippi and Engine, Engine #9 in a tent at a Bluegrass Festival, while Queen of Labrador City and You’ve Got a Warrant Out (On My Affection) are surely destined for the Ryman Theatre and if not, perhaps The Sage in Gateshead during #SummerTyne!
But all three (and more) are suitable for all three types of venue.
I’ve been stumped for what to choose as a Favourite Song, as each is as inherently different, which sounding like first generation offspring at the same time ………. the grungy guitars on Borderline have drawn me back a couple of times; as has Lost Bird with its luscious harmonies, shimmering cymbals and haunting cello (from Nelson Caldwell) but I’m being drawn back to Last of The West Kansas Cowboys; because who among us doesn’t like a Cowboy Song?
A tearjerker, more in the mould of Willie Nelson than Toby Kieth, that’s for sure and the harmonies that compliment Crist’s quivering vocals are quite sublime; so Last of The West Kansas Cowboys is the RMHQ Favourite Track (I think).
I’ve had to ‘bump’ a review of an album by a household name in the Blues World to listen to and then write this review; which should tell you something about the quality of songs and playing here; but that’s what the RMHQ is all about; unearthing new music that you may not find elsewhere …… and this is well worth trying; thank me later.
Released 31st July 2020
BUY DON’T SPOTIFY.