Blood Washed Band – “Driftin’ Along”

“Drifitn’ Along serves as both a gentle introduction to a bygone era of music and a satisfying reminiscence for the purist.” -CB

Cameron Barham

out of 10

Blood Washed Band
Driftin’ Along
April 2013
House of Mercy Recordings

“Switching it over to AM
Searching for a truer sound
Can’t recall the call letters
Steel guitar and settle down
Catching an all-night station somewhere in Louisiana
It sounds like 1963, but for now it sounds like heaven.”
-Son Volt, “Windfall” from Trace

Have you ever been driving the back roads in the dark of the night somewhere deep in the South and the only station you could get to come in was some AM station playing country songs of old that were equal parts Gospel and honky tonk anthems? Well, that is the sense and feel of Blood Washed Band’s Driftin’ Along. It is a solid collection of 10 songs that blur the lines between sinner and saint so far at times that the distinction almost loses any real meaning (which seems to be the underlying ethos of the record). Even more shocking is that they are playing this kind of music on a regular basis at the House of Mercy in Minnesota of all places and not somewhere in South Georgia!

Page Burkum’s vocals are perfectly suited for this nostalgic mix of originals, traditional number (“Standing in the Need of Prayer”), and Hank Williams cover (“Calling You”) which proves the band humbly but unashamedly respects their forbearers. The band comprised of Jeremy Szopinski on electric guitar, Quillian Roe on upright bass, Erik Brandt on keys of all kinds, Christopher Becknell on fiddle, Levi Stugelmeyer on drums, and Angie Talle on backing and lead vocals expertly and tastefully play comfortably “in the pocket” (a description borrowed from country and Gospel music expert, Jed Jessup, to mean they play tightly sticking to known chords as best I understand it). While they are not as creative as say Pokey Lefarge and his band, they are very skilled at their craft.

The album moves from the aching confessional waltz “Driftin’ Along” to the toe-tapping “Standing in the Need of Prayer” to the prodigal shuffling two-step promise of “He Will Take You Back Again” which combined reflect the ebb and flow movement of the whole. “Waiting at the Mailbox” features Angie Talle’s vocals which perfectly soak through the tale of longing and heart break. The album’s other standouts include the harmonies and call-response on Hank Williams’ “Calling You,” the gentle alternation from talking to singing and back a-la Conway Twitty which I am always a sucker for when done well as it is done here on “Where the Sinners Are”, and rollicking “Waitin’ for the Creek to Rise” which brings the album to a satisfying close. Drifitn’ Along serves as both a gentle introduction to a bygone era of music and a satisfying reminiscence for the purist.

-Cameron Barham, October 28, 2013

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