Album Review: Whiskey Folk Ramblers harkens back to westerns of old

The Whiskey Folk Ramblers release "The Lonesome Underground," a record that brings on the Ramblers twangy melodies and evicative vocals and chords.

The Whiskey Folk Ramblers release “The Lonesome Underground,” a record that brings on the Ramblers twangy melodies and evocative vocals and chords.

A southern quintet of folksy Dallas-Fort Worth gentlemen, The Whiskey Folk Ramblers have found its Americana, southern rock musical inspirations again, releasing its 3rd album, The Lonesome Underground, available on iTunes today.

Lead singer Tyler Rougeux gets much of his inspiration from Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty, and it’s evident on this album, with some corralling tunes that incorporate some swanky, down-under fiddle and mandolin licks to keep this folksy country gig going.

With a laid-back Jersey drawl, lead singer Rougeux ends each note in a deep barrel, much like a trombone (the band has one of those too!). Throw on top of it some Petty inspired harmonica tunes, too, and moving guitar melodies. This album puts you in one of those country-rockabilly ballrooms.

Despite losing three members in since the previous album, its evident The Whiskey Folk Ramblers have still managed to mature its sound, with three albums now under the group’s belt. Newly added band members since the group’s last album includes Cory Graves on trumpet, piano, baritone, and backup vocals and also drummer, backup vocalist Chris Carmichael.

Recorded in the home studios of members Mark Moncreiff and Carmichael, this DIY album began in 2011 and went on a journey that had the group starting over twice.

“We actually added piano into our band this year,” Rougeux said. “I started arranging structures in a different way than I had with the first two albums,” drawing influence from Springsteen and Petty.

The Lonesome Underground follows:

“Oh, St. Jude:” (3:11) Very southern rock influences in its instrumentation, this song is a little over three minutes of pure Americana chords and vocals, perfect to begin the album. Rougeux slides his voice up and down, with a popping guitar rhythm and a muted trumpet harmonizing his deep voice with some tinkering banjo plucking.

“Long Way Back:” (2:49) Much like a southern inspired tango, this song proves the band can capture slow melodies with varied instrumentation, and still jiving tunes that move this salon dance.

“Lights On The Highway:” (4:09) Rougeux gracefully uses his deep vocals, matched with a violin and piano to bring a complex song structure, with drastic changes between the verses and chorus.

“Mad Man’s Eyes:” (2:17) This groove will have you shaking and moving along with Rougeux as weaves in and out of this trumpet, vocal harmony orgy, with some fierce plucking banjo and guitar rhythms.

“Bad Rise:” (3:15) Rougeux uses his keen seen of melody with his vocals, to give a dramatic alt-country tune. With heartfelt lyrics that tell a compelling story, this song gives it all in over three minutes.

“Leavin’ Here:” (3:14) With a blue-grass feel and southern twang in the guitar, this song is one of those songs you would grab a partner and start dancing too.

“Old Lost Tears:” (4:45) Ending the album on a warm farewell with a melodic trumpet and some stripped down vocals, and basic instrumentation melodies, this song has each instrument joining together in a somber goodbye.

Other tracks on Underground:

“Drink The Bottle Dry” (2:59)

“If I Were Around” (2:49)

“Cross City Trade:” (3:38)

“Can You Drive My Car” (3:34)

“Come Down Tonight” (2:45)

“Letters To Rosemary”  (3:42)

Learn more & shop Whiskey Folk Ramblers merch: http://www.whiskeyfolkramblers.com/.

– Aaron Claycomb

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