It doesn’t take much scrutiny to realize that The Deer Run Drifters were alt-country Americana/bluegrass/folk hybrid with the ability to write and deliver a song on their debut album Appalachian Blues. The four-piece comprised of Chris Link (guitar, vocals), Joe Link (mandolin), Shane Edgell (banjo), Sean Edgell (guitar, harmonica) and Will Norton (bass) went back into the studio and came out with their sophomore release entitled Restless Youth.
The release is a step forward in a number of ways. One thing you get is the addition of electric guitar and percussion. That being said, they are not focal centers of the songs. In fact when there are drums they are mixed very low in the mix, which is fine by me since the acoustic strings sound so good. Thematically, the band covers a wide variety of topics - heartbreak, being down on your luck and nostalgia. The band is not without a sense of humor, which is also very welcome.
First up is the bright and warm “Good Days.” Link has a unique and undeniable country twang. He sounds like he could be anywhere from twenty to about sixty when he sings, “Those were goods, those were good days. “Nirvana’d” is straight up brilliant and is actually about the band Nirvana. The song is really split into two parts. The first part as far as I can tell is completely original where they casually have a lyric that mentions “Nirvana Songs.” It wasn’t till about half way through way I swore they were playing “Come As You Are” which they do for about fifteen seconds. I laughed while I simultaneously enjoyed every second.
There are twelve songs on this album and they aren’t skimpy. The songs range from about four- to-six minutes. It's obvious the band dug in deep and pulled out the best songs they could. There weren’t any lulls and the rather girth-y album went by quickly.
Out of the twelve there were a couple that were highlights but are arguable considering all the songs have something to offer. “Down in the Gutter” was a refreshing, self-deprecating yet humorous song that had the perfect amount of melancholy. How can you not appreciate a song called “You Go Too Hell, I’m Goin’ Drinking.” That’s pretty much what I say to my wife every Friday (sarcasm). Kidding aside the song is a certified sing-along that goes down just as easy as that sixth drink.
Suffice it to say this album gets two thumbs up. These guys are touring like crazy so why don’t you check them out and give Restless Youth a spin.
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