Steep Canyon Rangers, Morning Shift Review
In the ever-widening sonic landscape of country music, certain bands dare to push past the comfortable boundaries of genre, venturing into uncharted territories. A prime example of such audacity is the seasoned band Steep Canyon Rangers. With three Grammy nominations, 14 studio albums, three collaborations with Steve Martin, and an induction into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame under their belt, the band has graced some of the music world’s most esteemed stages.
Their 14th studio offering, Morning Shift, is a storied journey through the band’s continuous evolution. Born in the rustic ambiance of the historic Inn Bat Cave, nestled in the Southern Appalachian foothills, this album dances along the tightrope of tradition and innovation. As the band bravely explores new sonic territories, they invite us to embark on this journey with them. Let’s celebrate their creative boldness, unravel the intricacies of their harmonious structures, and dive headfirst into the vibrant heart of their music; it’s a colorful tapestry of musical storytelling, a journey across the borders of past and present, physical landscapes, and emotional terrain. It’s the auditory equivalent of a cinematic epic – compelling, diverse, and richly textured.
Morning Shift starts with “Hominy Valley,” an intriguing mix of history, folklore, and personal narrative. The song explores the layered history of a single place, touching on themes of cultural clash and change. With a pulsating bluegrass vibe, this opening track immediately grips the listener, promising an emotional journey that traverses time and space.
Other standout tracks include the joyous “Deep End” and the emotionally nuanced “Harvest Queen.” In “Deep End,” we find an energetic celebration of life’s spontaneous moments, showcasing Steep Canyon Rangers’ strong vocal harmony skills and their knack for creating relatable, uplifting narratives. On the other hand, “Harvest Queen” shifts the mood with a heartfelt shuffle ballad, tugging at the heartstrings and underscoring the band’s range in both emotion and style.
Continuing the expedition, “Ghost of Glasgow” and “Alabama Calling” pull from the sounds of Americana and blues, respectively. These tracks show the band’s versatility in fusing different genres while still remaining true to their bluegrass roots.
Perhaps one of the most exciting stops in this musical expedition is the instrumental trio of “Old Stone House,” “Handlebars,” and “Chimney Rock.” This medley offers listeners a delightful, toe-tapping showcase of the band’s instrumental expertise and deep roots in the bluegrass tradition.
The album concludes with “Recommend Me,” an acoustic-driven ballad that leaves listeners with a touching melody and a sense of heartwarming nostalgia. It’s the perfect end to this extraordinary musical experience.
As a cohesive whole, Morning Shift emerges as a multi-layered collection of songs demonstrating the Steep Canyon Rangers’ unending creativity and mastery of their craft. It’s an album that resonates long after the final note has played. It will undoubtedly find a home with bluegrass fans, country music fans, and anyone who appreciates good, honest music performed and sung by skilled musicians.
To listen to Morning Shift is to embark on a series of vivid explorations – through the hills and valleys of Hominy Valley, guided by compelling human emotions through a diverse musical landscape of the Steep Canyon Rangers. It’s a demonstration of the band’s remarkable ability to weave rich narratives, historical and personal, into their music while continuously pushing the boundaries of bluegrass and delivering that much-loved virtuosic instrumental performance as well.
So strap in, sit back, and let the Steep Canyon Rangers take you on a journey. One filled with soul-stirring melodies, rich narratives, and the warm familiarity of the acoustic textures they master so well. Morning Shift is an invitation to embark on numerous journeys, to have the music allow your imagination to shape your journey, just as the Steep Canyon Rangers have shaped theirs through their music. After all, isn’t that what exceptional music is all about?
Connect with Steep Canyon Rangers: Website |