Currently, based in Lynchburg, VA and originally from Grants Pass, OR, Nolan Sorsby’s debut EP The Oregon Trail is a folk album that chronicles his journey from Oregon to Virginia. Sorsby has been writing songs and playing guitar for over a decade now but is only now making music as an independent artist. Upon hitting the play button, listeners will be right away hit by the energy coming from the music. Sorsby imbues his music with the feeling and emotions he is experiencing at that time. From the melodies to the riffs and wild synergy, you can tell this is an artist perfectly at home in front of the mic.
The Oregon Trail gets rolling with the title track “The Oregon Trail,” which starts off with a moody bass. Eventually, the acoustic guitar joins the circuit of sounds. The percussive beats give off a very lively affair. Once Sorsby’s vocals enter, the warm vibes really settle in. The music nearly eclipses his voice and I thought more fidelity on this end would be more appreciated. The music overall had a very exciting element to it that it reminded me of such folk acts like Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Of Monsters and Men. Changing things up for a more acoustic approach, the sound of the fiddle adds a very country element to the vibes on “From Oregon to Virginia.” Feeling more minimalistic in sound, Sorsby’s vocals are supported by the acoustic guitar. On this folksy ballad, you really see a more sparse and simple sound get realized. This showed another side to Sorsby’s music-making style. Continuing with the sauntering sound on the acoustic guitar, the melody here felt very meandering with a slow buildup on “Noises Of Norfolk.” Mainly an acoustic track, Sorsby continues to actualize his simple but resonating sound here. The sound of strings really added to the atmosphere of this piece.
Starting off with a countdown, finger-picking on the acoustic guitar sounds out on “What A Time To Be Alive.” Sorsby’s vocals evokes tons of mood and feeling into his singing. This felt like a ballad in the folk and singer/songwriter vein. The sound of synths added to the vibes. Some upbeat guitar riffs jumpstart the vibes on “Mountains Of Oregon.” The vocal harmonies in the backdrop added a lush vibe. Sorsby’s vocals here felt very up-close-and-personal like he was performing this song right in the same room with you. Another heartfelt acoustic ballad, Sorsby adds something extra to the track with his emotional vocals on this closer.
Sorsby is constantly exploring new ways to approach his music and we see this in how he goes about his music with a energy that stays consistent throughout. There’s a whole lot to appreciate on this record. I loved the energy of the title track “The Oregon Trail.” I was hoping throughout the record that Sorsby would revisit those vibes, but he didn’t – much to my disappointment. Though hopefully, he will do so in future projects. There was a lot to appreciate on this album and I look forward to hearing him play live. In the meantime, this EP will just have to do!
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