Wild Wanderer is the debut LP from folk group Boomtown Trio. The trio consists of Kristen Harris (fiddle/ vocals), Kelly McLachlan (acoustic guitar/ukulele/banjo/vocals) and Craig Butterfield (upright bass). Because they can all flat-out play, the band is able to use their virtuosity to execute folk music in a new, exciting way. Their songs combine elements of American folk with Celtic vocal melodies, with well-constructed string parts. Throughout, there’s tight ensemble playing, reminiscent more of a chamber orchestra than a pub-session group.
Boomtown Trio give us ten tracks, each with a somewhat different feel and story. While they’re held together sonically with the same instrumentation, it’s amazing how many different textures the band can generate. There are bowed and pizzicato strings, strummed and palm-muted guitars. Delicious vocal harmonies are sprinkled throughout.
The first few tracks will mollify traditional folk-music lovers, kicking off with the bluesy “Darkness Prowling.” From the start, though, we know we’re in for a different take on a familiar-sounding genre: the ensemble playing is super tight. The combination of the fiddle lines and high-register bowed bass adds a fresh-sounding depth and interest. It’s a great start to the record.
“Tied to the Night” keeps the terrific performances and arrangements coming. The string lines are a perfect complement to the plucked banjo. Butterfield’s bass solo is a particular highlight: it’s a growly, bowed, drop-tuned rip-snorter. Not to be outdone, Harris chips in her solo part, too. “Fragile Hour” was a favorite, featuring folky, strummed guitar surrounded by beautiful string lines.
Later in the album, Boomtown Trio lets it out a bit. “Patterns in the Sound” is built around a riff-y bass figure. “Gold Lion” is funky pop--you could almost hear this as a killer MTV Unplugged arrangement of an early-‘90s rock tune. Butterfield’s bowed bass solos here are spectacular.
Wild Wanderer is a tour de force. Boomtown Trio has delivered a great combination of folk and classical music that is a treat to the ears. I recommend it highly for folk and classical lovers alike.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook