It’s all too easy for an artist or band to toss in some banjo or mandolin in a folk song and say that it represents an authentic look at a rhythmic bucolic soul. And those familiar with the true nature of country music’s history, and the roots it shares with folk and rock music, can attest that it takes more than some sprightly plucks and strums to deliver a true Americana perspective. For North Georgia band The Kamikaze Dali, this idea of crafting a genuine and sincere look at the sounds that swell up from the deepest parts of the South lies at the heart of their predominantly acoustic offerings.
Built around the communal influences of Jeremy Wells, Kevin Weaver, Kara Murphy, Jason Murphy and Ben McFry, the band highlights the folk and country leanings of their various inspirations by threading each of their songs with gorgeous harmonies, subtle arrangements and alt country rhythms. They incorporate musical allusions to bluegrass and classic rock ‘n’ roll but keep everything tied up within the lengths of a dozen pastoral landscapes. And with the grace and folk movements that lope and sway across the songs of their latest record, “Three River Revelry,” the group has deepened their relationship with these low evening sounds.
After a brief introduction, the record opens with “The Lion Song,” a track that evinces a casual country swagger and lays out a shuffling mandolin melody that perfectly accentuates the chugging acoustic guitar rhythms that the band doles out. They’re working with sounds that feel ancient but not irrelevant, familiar but not lazy. As a broad stroke, their seamless blend of folk, bluegrass and country aesthetics produces something greater than the sum of its parts. Tracks such as “In the Dark” and “Blackberry Winter” highlight the emotional relentlessness that the band can muster, and it’s fairly staggering to behold.
Buried within their work is a treasure trove of memories and experiences—the kind of rural associations that bring to mind creaky front porches, the hum of cicadas and friends huddled around campfires at midnight. The Kamikaze Dali takes all these communal feelings and translates them into something that feels universal. Taking a look at love, regret and the affection of their Southern roots, “Three River Revelry” is a perfect combination of country history and the feel of the soft earth under your feet. By looking at the atmosphere from which their music is born, the band discovers a truth in their joined voices and the twang of their instruments.
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.