Listen if you like: Tramped By Turtles, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons
Modern folk music just keeps getting better. I was lucky enough to host The Way Down Wanderers at a Sofar Sounds show last month, and it was so refreshing to hear a group of musicians that are pushing their genre forward while also taking from the roots. This five-piece band from Illinois exhibits their ability to access the traditional sounds of country, before the label of country became what it is today, with a modern twist. They regularly blend sounds of indie, folk, country, bluegrass, and even acoustic blues with perfect vocal tones to match the bill, creating a sonic combination that I have not heard before.
These gents find ways to merge soothing country melodies and playful lyricism with up-tempo jams, and it sounds cohesive. Even amidst the chaotic bluegrass sections, one can’t help but be mesmerized. Whether it’s a string solo or the drummer rocking out with a pair of spoons like the good ol’ days, The Way Down Wanderers are entertainers.
Their most recent EP was recorded live, a feat not easily done with the tight bluegrass jams they break out into. There are a lot of people out there apprehensive to listen to anything with the word bluegrass associated with it, likely under the impression that it all sounds the same. We ask that you take a listen to “Truth, Son” and “Burn The City” and get back to us on that, if you’re one of those people. The entire EP is compiled of perfect road tripping music, crafted for the pensive mind of a curious traveler. The best thing about Wellspring? I actually love each track, something not easily achieved for a local band giving me the first taste of their sound. That seems a bit harsh to say, but think about it. When was the last time you truly loved every song off of a release of even a band you like?
When exploring Wellspring, I can’t help but get this vibe that these are genuine musicians that love what they do. Seeing them live is no different; their facial expressions and body language say it all. They simply love sharing music and making connections with others, while sharing past experiences through the music.
Did we mention it was recorded live? Let’s be clear, nearly nobody does that anymore.