“Heavenly, ascending group-sung harmonies, romantic escapism, working-class ballads sung with a poet’s grace — groups like Whiskey Folk Ramblers remind us that some things never go out of style. On … And There Are Devils, the band’s latest release, those timeless qualities are polished to a brilliant sheen. Merging ragged, Prohibition-era folk with the gunslinging guitars of a gritty Ennio Morricone spaghetti Western, this is the most assured material that Whiskey Folk has released yet. The band has always had a talent for sounding out of time and place. Songs like the gypsy heel-stomping of “Pies of Old Kylene” stand as further testament to that. Frontman Tyler Rougeux whips up an infectious, dance-worthy frenzy purely through his playful delivery of the chorus, displaying the group’s distinct, intimate knowledge of rhythm: As the players begin to rapidly shift the tempo, you’re whisked away by their charming romance, absorbed into their weary, lonesome, and moving world. On “Easy Climb,” Rougeux is backed by wheezing accordion and sunset-streaked horns. All of the songs here bloom subtly, their choruses burrowing inside you. Whiskey Folk has a knack for using every instrument to its fullest potential without cluttering its sound in the process, finding virtue in beautiful simplicity. On the midnight highway ballad “Concrete Bed,” gloomy group harmonies conjure up imagery of wandering in solitude. As lone piano keys are struck, the sound of each individual plink hair-raising, the guitar chords glisten, gracefully coming to life like a rare desert flower touched by moonlight. Other songs, such as the instrumental closer “Night of the Indian Man Morning,” glide confidently on the strength of their evocative moods, guided through the darkness by Spanish-inflected horns and sparse string arrangements. … And There Are Devils’ depiction of a mournful, haunting West is so potent, you may find yourself cherishing the dust. Songs this homespun and charming are rare antiques.
-Cole Garner Hill - Fort Worth Weekly
released 04 June 2010
all songs by Whiskey Folk Ramblers.
produced & recorded by Salim Nourallah.
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