Driftwood’s December Last Call

By Brian Rock

Athens, GA meets Greenwich Village on Driftwood’s new album, December Last Call. The upstate New York based band continues to push the boundaries of folk on this, their sixth album. From alt rock to country to cosmic cowboy and beyond, Driftwood follows the musical current wherever it takes them.

The Title track is a cheerful folk-rock anthem that exudes the joy and magic of the last week of the year between Christmas and New Years. Jangly, alt-rock guitar chords are complemented by classical violin strains, Hammond organ pulses and Beach Boys style vocal harmonies. The lyrics are more evocative than descriptive as the song captures the feel of communing with family and friends, temporarily slowing the pace of modern life, and looking ahead to a new year of opportunities. It’s a time when even snowfall retains its child like magic; before January and February transform it into a wicked white warlord. Full of giddy optimism, the song is as joyful and triumphant as your favorite Christmas carol.

Continuing the good vibes on, “Every Which Way But Loose,” the band adds a subtle Flying Burrito Brothers influence. More brilliant, jangly guitar work highlight this up-tempo alt-rocker. Singing, “She’ll make you a millionaire, then she’ll make you poor. And she’ll dice you up into mincemeat and you’ll be begging for more;” the band describes that dizzy, heals overhead kind of love that leaves you dazed and confused. Like Billy Joel’s “She’s Always A Woman,” the band celebrates the kind of woman that can make you completely lose your senses. “Just A Kid,” completes Driftwood’s trio of Jangle-folk gems. Excusing a lover’s questionable actions due to her youth, the band recalls the Smithereen’s “Crazy Mixed-Up Kid.” The blending of folk, rock and pop on these three songs is done with a deft touch. Like The Jayhawks meet Jukebox the Ghost, the band infuses traditional topics with fresh energy and innovation.

“Float Away,” sees the band drift into more contemplative waters. Acoustic guitar and harmonica replace the lusher “wall of sound” of the previous tracks. Slowing the tempo, the band cautions, “We could float away, so you better not let go.” Referencing Hank William’s lonesome whippoorwill, the band evokes a nebulous melancholy as they ponder the uncertainties of the future. “Continental Lincoln,” is an innovative fusion of percussion, chamber Folk, and ethereal soundscapes. Once again, the lyrics are secondary to the mood: like looking out the backseat window of a luxury sedan; but instead of driving through the countryside, you’re driving through your distorted memories of the past. Turning to more traditional folk the band delivers a heartfelt ode to the past on, “Up All Night Blues.” “Here At Last,” adds a pronounced country influence as they ponder the many different paths that lead us all together. “Know You’re Mine,” is a touching ballad that meanders into cosmic cowboy terrain. The band signs off with the extended lullaby, “Stardust.” Full of innovative musical arrangements and evocative lyrics, “December Last Call,” gets even better with repeated listening’s.  |  fb  |  listen

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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