Barnstormers- Graveyard Town
Upon the release of their sophomore album, Barnstormers, a Decatur Alabama based band, is nervous. But they really need not be. The live show I saw at Eclipse was a great introduction to their sound. It was a small show with its share of technical difficulties, but they put on a damn charismatic performance.
The first track, “A Warm Welcome”, calls to mind a mildly demented circus or the music Tom Waits has milling around in his head all day. It’s wonderfully simple with more layers that become evident with more plays. This trend continues through the album. As does the rain. It is featured in three songs but connects the adjoining tunes as well. On paper, that sounds like a lot of rain. However it is used well and adds an ambiance when enveloped in listening. Ronnie Moore, guitarist and songwriter, has a voice that reminds me of Will Kimbrough, another Alabama musician. But it also has a nice deepness to it, that when he’s really into the song caused chills. “Magdalena” and “Misery” are the two tracks that I think displayed his vocals well. Not to mention his songwriting. It’s clever without appearing pretentious and sweetly melancholy as well. Best illustrated in “The Gift,” a tune seemingly about a lost love who won’t simply let go without dragging the protagonist along for a bit. “Another boy crosses the room as he offers a smile/ But he doesn’t know you the way that I do/ He doesn’t know your thousand yard stare/ And what it can do.” There is a point in the middle of the album that feels incomplete or causes a lull but once you reach the next song you realize that there was some intention behind it all. Chris Wilson, cellist and songwriter, brings his musical talents to the table as well as a voice that is interestingly green. There are at least 30 more aspects I could go on about, or I could just insist that you seek out this album.
From what I gather, they get quite a few vampire and True Blood references. At first listen, that makes more than enough sense. But to pinhole them as just that doesn’t give them nearly enough credit. Yeah, most of the songs sound like they’re plucked from New Orleans. And yeah, there’s a swagger to some songs that evoke sexiness. But there is so much more to it and I cannot wait to hear more from this band that calls Alabama home.
Stand out tracks: Solace, The Gift, and Tin Roof.