Moonshiner Collective isn't just a snazzy name. It’s called a collective because Dan Curico, the foundation behind the project, created a revolving door of creative musicians who provide the music for Curcio to sing over. Curcio was living in a yurt (a circular domed dwelling structure) in Cayucos, California where he and a number of musicians sang, drank whiskey and looked at the majestic nature surrounding them. As the days passed he decided to give the project a name and eventually released Let Go, which is a beautiful collection of songs that sound as pure as the process.
This bohemian concept for the music works because of the heartfelt vocal delivery of Curico (his voice sounds like Eddie Vedder at points but it never sounds exaggerated like so many artists have done in the past) and warm organic instrumentation that surrounds.
Let Go is a girthy album at 14 tracks that has so many well-written songs it really doesn't feel like an arduous process. The first few seconds of the title track are a bit misleading as I thought I might be listening to an electronic album but it quickly mutates into an upbeat song that bursts with optimism and revival. The pop-oriented title track is a good number but I enjoyed the rustic “Autumness” even more. This track contains elements of folk and bluegrass as well as some of the best whistling this side of Georgia. The track hits its high point when the vocal harmonies are introduced to the song. Don’t be fooled, as this album isn't just full of whimsical good vibes for living off the land. “The Auction” is an emotionally heavy song grounded in melancholy. It isn't just his voice but the piano accompaniment that creates the mood.
Perhaps what is most surprising about Let Go is that the album sounds cohesive. Don't get me wrong - there is a nice variety of sounds and instrumentation but it all is built upon a foundation of community with Curico’s voice at the helm. Do yourself a favor and if you can't make it out to their outdoor gatherings do the next best thing and give this album a spin.
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