What a great album to wake up to. Dust Bowl Heart in theory is a collection of Americana inspired songs from a passionate and talented group of musicians. In reality though, the album is much more than this. The music sets a scene for its listeners, each song taking the time to craft this entire story line and create a mood that effectively reflects the essence of the concept. Lonesomeville is the opener and is the perfect example of all of this.
As you move through the songs you get a touch of different aspects of country and Americana music, often with a genuine and truth heavy, folk-like lyrical outpouring. The music moves from the fast paced, high energy to the mellow and almost acoustic intermittently throughout the project. At all times though you get the warmth of the leading vocal, the accompanying choir of voices, the beautifully stylish flicker of the strings, and the ever organic realness of the surrounding instrumentation. The songs come through often with a slight live performance feel, something that makes it all the more enjoyable when the music is this well written and performed.
The emotionally calming songs on the project such as The Less I Know are often cleverly placed to have the best possible impact. Love Sick follows this one and brings in the full throttle, blues rock and roll feel to lift up your spirits once again after the gentle poetry of the former. Oklahoma Lady switches back to the calm and reflective, the heartfelt. All of the music has a thoughtful truth to it in fact, and whether the energy is sky high or notably laid back, the openness shines through.
Home On The Hill offers a pleasant country ballad sort of song with yet another wonderful musical atmosphere surrounding the song at its core. Dandelions comes as something of an indie rock anthem afterwards, the leading rock vocal really strikes with grit and gravel in this case, it’s a beautiful recording loaded with passion. Broken Heart continues the indie vibe with an infectious leading riff and a series of questioning lyrics that leave their mark on you fairly instantly. That country rock and roll swagger remains by means of the occasional flicker of a guitar solo. The band always return to these roots, these characteristics that make their sound their own.
Tumbling Dice has a slightly mainstream sounding melody to it, there’s a familiarity to the choice of notes and it’s a really satisfying flow to follow along. Again, the leading vocal performance is on point, and the lyrics in this case seem perfect for this particular moment. It’s a well written song that sounds like an old, undiscovered classic. The album’s title track follows and this superb folk-rock anthem unfolds, complete with an addictive rhythm and infectious chorus. The instrumentation at this point is stunning, and again, a live performance is a must – the song in fact sounds as if it’s being performed right there in the room with you. A brilliant song and a great way to encapsulate and make memorable the concept and name of the whole project.
The album goes out with a bang by means of the stylish and hypnotic This Machine. The track has a wonderful rhythm and energy to it, fantastic instrumentation, as always, and the structure of it takes you through the various moments of the story with both grit and grace. A hugely effective combination of elements, all driven by a talented and clearly focused and passionate musician collective. Well worth listening to in full.