Friday, September 28, 2012

The Shakori Essentials: River Whyless

I've made no attempts at hiding my adoration for this band, they're quickly becoming one of my favorite local acts and I haven't even gotten to see their live show yet!  Music on the Mountaintop had me sold on two acts, River Whyless and Dr. Dog.  While I didn't get to see either band due to terrible traffic on I-40, I did get to film one of my favorite Bottom String Session's with Ryan and get a few copies of A Stone, A Leaf, An Unfound Door, one of which was the ever-looping soundtrack to my three hour ride back home.  River Whyless are making some of the most compelling music in the state right now, while some can draw comparisons to Lost in the Trees due to their classical folk orientation, River Whyless has a more contemporary take on the sound.  It's clear that influence from ethereal post rock bands has bled into the band's songwriting, and their unique 'baroque folk' sound is something to swoon over.

While you may know the band by their old moniker, Do It To Julia, they've since changed up their approach with a new name and a new sound.  River Whyless have released one of the strongest albums of the year, A Stone, A Leaf... doesn't have a weak track on it.  The album flows together brilliantly with captivating imagery and complex soundscapes.  After talking with Ryan O'Keefe at MOTM he informed me that most of his songwriting takes place outside, a fact that becomes astoundingly clear when listening to the album.  River Whyless sings of heartache and despair, of doubting faith, of fleeting hope but a promise for tomorrow.  The lyricism is incredible, which makes the beautiful harmonies that much sweeter.  Halli Anderson's voice is commanding yet subtle, it can tug on your heartstrings and speak to you with sincerity and presence.  O'Keefe's voice retains many of the same qualities, but features a trademark quiver that gives his vocals an unfiltered vulnerability, making their sound all the more personal.

River Whyless is a band that fits in perfectly with the vibes at Shakori.  When I saw their name on the roster I knew they'd have precedence, their music has a connection with people and the Meadow Stage is the perfect place to display it.  It's earthy music that shines simultaneously with its simplicity and its extravagance.  One minute you'll hear Halli playing a rustic fiddle line, the next you'll be immersed in her classical prowess.  The sounds of River Whyless are real, natural and devastatingly beautiful.

While the band is playing a stacked time slot with Hoots & Hellmouth and Jonathan Scales Fourchestra playing around the same time, I know River Whyless will not fail to amaze the festival goers.  The middle of a gorgeous farmland sounds like the perfect setting for a show from River Whyless, and this unique experience will be one of the weekends highlights for sure.

Check out our aforementioned Bottom String Session with Ryan O'Keefe from Music on the Mountaintop.  River Whyless will be playing on Friday, October 5 at 5:00 p.m. on the Meadow Stage:

No comments:

Post a Comment