After putting together a collection of demos under the alias At the Well in Seattle in 2012, singer/songwriter Keith Smith took off in the direction of Asheville, North Carolina. It was here that he met fellow musician Sparrow when he was asked to help her with her own solo album. This marked the beginning of a collaborative path for both artists that would lead to the formation of Americana/folk ensemble The Resonant Rogues in 2013.
Following the recruitment of bassist Craig Sandberg and fiddler Drayton Aldridge, the band headed off to Echo Mountain Studios to begin work on their debut record. The result was an eleven track compilation entitled Here and Gone Again, which is due for release in Europe on July 24th.
Blasting off with “Make Us Stay”, a strikingly vivid duet prefaces merry and contented instrumentation. Both vocalists meld well together, helping to forge a carefree composition that rests easy on the ears. “Weight of This World” arrives as a characterful successor, whose aloof attitude allows for a lively listen ahead of “Fall with Me”. Featuring a festive lead into enthusiastic vocals, it goes on to become a very active and animated undertaking made all the more engaging by its rousing fiddle and avid accordion.
“Weary Head” arrives afterwards via a bracing banjo that paves the way into a sobering harmony and affecting strings. It remains rousing all the way through before the riveting rhythm of “Break It Off” takes over. This moves towards a captivating chorus which speeds forward forcefully, generating a wonderfully frantic feel.
“Waiting for the Rain” is another quirky contribution that paces passionately along through a mesmerising melody, ending up as a stimulating serenade loaded with vigour and vitality. “End of the Day” slows down slightly in its wake with an arresting accordion, while piercing fiddles make a forceful impact as the piece trucks nonchalantly onwards.
Being a much more mellow entry to begin with, “Everyday Blues” eventually bursts into a tumult of irresistible energy. “Flowers” adopts an amiable ambience in its aftermath, dashing across a cheerful melody and ecstatic instrumentation. “Overland” succeeds it as an eccentric addition that’s heavy on the gas again ahead of the warm and moving finale, “Tomorrow”.
The Resonant Rogues certainly know how to use music to encourage fun and excitement. Here and Gone Again is a pleasant and accessible collection of songs whose sunny and optimistic disposition all but guarantee a good time while listening.