Album: Carry Me Home

Artist: Dustbowl Revival

Label: self-released

Release Date: May 21, 2013

Dustbowl Revival


Retro has come to mean any number of things in today’s genre-obsessed mindset. It’s not enough for a band to tag itself as simply roots-related; instead, it becomes mandatory to identify exactly which roots are being referenced. So when a band like The Dustbowl Revival comes along, a group that seems to take its cues from a smorgasbord of past precedents, it’s bound to throw the purists for a loop. This, their sophomore set, includes a number of weathered standards that stretch back a century or more, as well as several songs dating from the ‘20s, ‘30s and the prewar period in general.

That’s not to insinuate that Carry Me Home is merely a rehash or a history lesson; rather, this L.A.-based collective adds imagination and instrumental enhancements that actually affirm the original intents. The revered gospel hymn “Swing Low” begins with hushed harmonies and grows gradually into a rousing spiritual celebration. “John The Revelator” sheds its somber overtones in favor of raucous revelry. The Civil War lament “Soldier’s Joy” is transformed from a weary lament into a spontaneous foot-stomping, hand-clapping hoedown. Other tracks follow suit, flush with the sound of doo-wop, Dixieland, whimsy and ragtime. Ultimately, The Dustbowl Revival stay true to their name, and the results achieve something extremely rare, a sound that taps tradition while paying no heed to parameters. Praise be—this is one hell of a hallelujah.

DOWNLOAD: “Swing Load,” “Soldier’s Joy,” “John the Revelator”

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