WoolFolk – “Dances with WoolFolk”
“This EP is rich with texture and story while managing to show a level of restraint and maturity beyond their years and experience. A voice and style is clearly beginning to emerge even though this is their first release.” – CBCameron Barham
out of 10
Dances with WoolFolk
October 15th, 2013
One of the mistakes that young musicians often make is that they try to do too much lyrically, vocally, and/or musically in an effort to leave their mark. This is often part of the process of trying to work out and find one’s own voice and style and sometimes take a number of releases and years before it is discovered. Impressively, this is not true of WoolFolk’s EP, Dances with WoolFolk. This EP is rich with texture and story while managing to show a level of restraint and maturity beyond their years and experience. A voice and style is clearly beginning to emerge even though this is their first release.
WoolFolk is made up of Burgess Brown, Michael Suhr, John Ewing, Brantley Macfie, Heath Abney, and Sean Williams who variously contribute vocals and play a variety of instruments on the EP. The album was recorded over a number of months here in Macon, Georgia over this year and is incredibly well produced, once again, an impressive feat for a young band on their first release.
Dances with WoolFolk opens with the introductory “Old Boy” which sounds like a lost song from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack and somehow manages to out fleet the Fleet Foxes (a band I recognize as talented but can’t listen to). The next track, “Hickies”, is absolutely brilliant with its musical and vocal dynamic. It is a perfect example of the breadth of WoolFolk’s creativity and restraint. The Frankie Valli-esque vocals could have easily gotten out of hand but are perfectly placed and executed being reserved for this track alone granting a greater diversity to the EP as a whole. “I Love LA (Trickster Getting Married)” picks up the tempo and waltzes through the story of a man refusing to settle down. It is reminiscent of the Avett Brothers without sounding like a cheap imitation. “Chieft” reminds me of the once popular but now defunct local band Stribling (though it lives on in its most recent incarnation as Sundollars) which contains a little more swaggering funk than folk. The band’s old school country influences show up on “No Calls From Claire” though the song ultimately defies the genre with complimentary distorted guitar riffs and thundering toms just before Suhr begs the question, “Would you let me out of this place?, If you love me”. “Your Light” is a well suited closing anthem in which the relational tension is definitively palpable as the song crescendos into the call of “How long?” and the response of “Oh your love it hurts me, Oh my God!” as the music crashes in all around.
Dances with WoolFolk is an excellent first release for WoolFolk. I look forward to what they will create in the future. I suspect they put on an entertaining live show so I would encourage you to join me in trying to catch them live while they are still playing more intimate venues so we can all say we saw them back when.
– October 29th, 2013 – Cameron Barham