The three-piece band Gypsy Lumberjack comprised of Leif Magnuson (vocals/acoustic guitar), Pete Verdin (electric bass) and Benj Karon (cajon/percussion) mix styles such as world beat, flamenco, Caribbean, gypsy jazz and bluegrass on their third full-length entitled Giants Of America. Giants Of America is an open, acoustic based album that has shades of everything from Jimmy Buffet to Paul Simon to Rusted Root. The songs are festive, fun and worthy of any outdoor concert. I could imagine throwing back a couple of beers and spending the afternoon to early evening with this band.
The album opens with “Raise Your Dram” which is a highlight amongst highlights. I loved the separation and distinct parts between the bass and acoustic guitars. Both parts were inventive, technically savvy and coalesced perfectly. The percussion is also exceptional. I heard bongos and shakers, which added a nice flavor to the songs. The production sounds like the band is playing right next to you. It sounds live but perfectly recorded. A great combo if you ask me.
“Battles of the Frontiers” builds on the band's strengths from the first song. There are some exceptional vocal harmonies on this song. The vocalist sings, “Lord, can you rescue me now. I’m on my knees I don’t care anyhow.” There are obviously religious overtones on this song but it never feels preachy in any way. If anything it seems to be questioning the idea of faith.
One of the most festive and fast songs is “Chasing the Sun.” The song has some exceptional Spanish guitar and is certainly dance worthy. In fact the Spanish flavor makes the song feel sexy and exotic. The vocal delivery on ”Bad Boy” sounds like Sting at some points while “Kill A Man” has similar themes to a Johnny Cash song.
The best technical and creative work may go to “Elevators.” The bass walks as the guitar hits too many notes to keep track of. They close with “Love Her Morning” which will have you out of your chair if you are sitting. The band incorporates a field recording of an audience, which really gives you the sense of a live performance.
At eight songs Giants of America feels just about perfect in length. Every song is strong and won’t require that you skip tracks. Highly Recommended.
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