Apache Relay – American Nomad

January 01, 1970

(Thirty Tigers)




When Apache Relay’s 2009 debut, 1988, came out, the Nashville-based band was cast as successors in
the new acoustic movement vein of the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons. With
American Nomad, the group boldly
states its intentions to cover much broader terrain.  While the album wanders through a variety of
influences, it’s most firmly planted in the goes-down-easy anthemic roots rock
of Guster and latter-day Wilco. Lead singer Michael Ford, Jr. delivers his
sincere prose with the intense, rough-and-tumble grace of David Gray,
especially in the building folk explosion of “Power Hungry Animals” and the
edgy pop hook of “Sets Me Free.”


A lone cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “State Trooper” starts
off with sparse grit and eventually peaks with a brief spiraling dual jam
between the atmospheric electric licks of guitarist Mike Harris and tensely
fulfilling fiddle fills of Kellen Wenrich. There’s also a foray into blue-eyed
soul in the ballad “Watering Hole.”


With thorough production from Nielson Hubbard, this is a
surprisingly mature effort from a group of guys who were still working out
songs in a Belmont University dorm room just a few years ago-a sign of even
better things to come.


Me Free” “State Trooper” JEDD FERRIS


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