Within the pastoral lengths of the Americana, folk and bluegrass genres, there can be a tendency to rely too heavily on the inherent beauty and acoustic atmospheres of these sounds without actually saying anything of substance or adding to the ongoing musical conversation. One of the prevailing ideas is to toss in some mandolin or banjo and be good to go. But this lazy, meaningless, superficial exploration doesn't reveal—it simply obscures the true grace that can be found within these various aesthetics. Thankfully, there are artists and bands who look deeper and ply their collective abilities to create something that speaks to both their influences and the history of the genres—and Caney Creek Company is one such band.
On their new record, "Hills," the band doesn't just skim the surface of these cavernous sounds; they fully submerge themselves in a wash of acoustic arrangements, percussive rhythms and harmonies that quickly ascend to higher elevations. There is grace to their work, a casual folk wonder that permeates every string, strum and melody. They evade the pitfalls so common to modern folk and Americana bands and deliver a refreshingly specific take on this acoustic familiarity. The band isn't looking to completely reinvent these sounds (there's too much history for that). They're simply showing that there is more to them than what most musicians attempt, or are able, to highlight.
Opening with the gentle sway and vocal breathlessness of "Open Up," the band—built around the combined musical sparks of singer-violinist Katie Bradford, singer-banjo player Konstantine Vlasis, guitarist Corey Bradford, mandolin player Drew Streip and bassist Doug Ford—offers a passionate and incisive look into the longevity of these particular rhythms. Other tracks such as "Tennessee Girl" and "Hills" cement their position as one of the most interesting bands currently working their way through this forested landscape of stringed noise and brilliant folk ruminations.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.