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Monday
Jul152013

The Wynntown Marshals 'The Long Haul' - Wynntown

This band fits the description that was in vogue a little while back "alt-country". They slide between the Gram Parsons/Rolling Stones axis that many bands who would fit that category tend to draw inspiration from. Not just those influences exclusively of course, but they are often the starting point. They are based in Edinburgh and recorded this album in their rehearsal space. It is testament to what a band can do with well rehearsed, thought out songs and a little time to get it right - or as right as time and budget and current experience allows.

The four members of the band are joined by some guests but they are a largely self-contained. They bring a certain rootsy swagger to their self written songs but can also add a delicate touch to songs like Curtain Call where vocalist Keith Benzie sings about perseverance and making hard choices in a restrained song that adds cello and violin to good effect. The final song Change Of Heart has Dolly Varden's Diane Christiansen adding a balanced harmony vocal to that age old situation of a couple who "… are at our best when we're not together, but we can't bear to be apart". That's what they mean, in one context, about being together for the long haul.

Elsewhere, the band  play a full sound that makes good use of Iain Sloan's guitar and pedal steel skills. The latter adds much to the Americana feel of many of the songs. The solid rhythm section of Murdoch MacLeod and Kenny McCabe provide the bedrock that gives the band its momentum and base. The Wynntown Marshals are the equal of many bands who come from the country whose music inspires them, but without any specific location. They are continuing in the path of bands like Brinsley Schwarz, Cochise or Quiver as much as drawing from the more high profile artists like Neil Young, The Byrds or latter day exponents like Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt. They have their sound down and are learning how best to bring it to a wider audience. They are doing in their own way, in their own time, because they know what they are in it for the long haul.

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