Gnarly atmospheric West Coast influenced Americana
From the opening jangling Rickenbacker guitar under the spoken word intro from Keith Benzie I knew I was going to like this album; a lot.
That first song was Driveway, about a young couple who drive cars across America for people and this journey is driving a Saab 95 from New Jersey to New Orleans, with ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ blasting from the radio.
Low Country Comedown is so full of imagery it should be accompanied by a picture book; not a set of lyrics.
Already I had to double check that the songs were all written by Benzie and not someone famous on Music Row.
The Submariner is interesting as it is a 100% Country love song; but when you delve into the story is about a seafaring submariner – odd; but as I say, interesting.
Another odd subject for an Americana band to write about is the stripped down Curtain Call about a drug addled Victorian Music Hall Illusionist looking back on his life. The song is stunningly beautiful with a haunting string section in the middle and end; and I genuinely can’t think of anything it reminds me of; which is a real treat.
My favourite track on THE LONG HAUL is North Atlantic Soul; written by bass player Murdo MacLeod which has a Byrdsian flavour to it and a chorus to die for.
Although the Wynntown Marshals might appear to revolve around the writing and singing of Keith Benzie; this is very much a group effort with MacLeod and drummer Kenny McCabe creating a rhythm section as tight as a ducks bum and Ian Sloan performing minor miracles on 12 string guitar and pedal-steel; as he could easily lead many a band; but chooses to compliment Benzie’s compelling voice throughout.
If you didn’t know any better you’d be convinced the Wynntown Marshals were from Middle America or perhaps some cool town on the West Coast; but no, they are from the mean streets of Edinburgh and this was all created above a pub called The Blind Poet!
Released 21st July