Well, one of the reasons for starting this feature was so that Brianna and I could explore older music we didn’t know and familiarize ourselves with new artists and styles, all while sharing those discoveries with you all. So today, I’m talking about something a little out of left field for me, an Irish folk band called the Lost Brothers, and their album So Long John Fante.
Release Date: 2011
Style: folk, close to what we’d call Americana but you know, it’s Irish, mixed with some hints of country and bluegrass and folk rock
People Who Might Like This Album: those who enjoy great melodies, harmonies and songwriting, those who like relaxing records, maybe those who like stuff like John Moreland’s latest album
Standout Tracks: “Bells They Won’t Ring,” “Pale Moon,” “Only By the Light of the Moon,” “Those Ancient Eyes,” “In the City,” “The Goodbye Kid,” “Killing Heart”
Reflections: Well, credit goes to my boyfriend Rob immediately, for showing me the absolutely excellent “Bells They Won’t ring” a couple years ago and introducing me to this little-known band from Ireland. Listen to this one if you only pick one track; it’s a heart-wrenching tale about love that went wrong somehow; “we will meet again, some other spring, but after all that’s been, bells they won’t, bells they won’t ring.” What a timeless lyric and sentiment, and that ability to capture timeless emotions like this runs throughout much of this album. “Killing Heart” is another good example; I’ll admit I didn’t like this one at first, but its lyrics advising a woman to stay away from him because he will hurt her with his “killing heart” just cannot be ignored.
Their melodies and harmonies are really what make this band shine the most, though, taking simple songs like “Only by the Light of the Moon” and “Those ancient Eyes” and elevating them to something special. Actually, and I didn’t write this above because the comparison is a very specific one and not really a generalization, their relaxed style and gentle harmonies remind me a lot of the Mavericks. As I say, it’s sort of a weird comparison because you’ll find a lot more energy in a Mavericks record, but the easygoing nature of this album is reminiscent of some of their material, as is the way the Lost Brothers pay careful attention to both their melodies and their harmonies.
As far as style, well, I had a hard enough time trying to define that above, but mostly, it’s folk/Americana. Apple Music helpfully calls it singer-songwriter. “Six Black Days” is pretty country, almost bluegrass even, and “Pale Moon,” which is my favorite here behind “Bells They Won’t ring,” also carries some country elements. A good portion of it tends to be acoustic or very sparse in instrumentation, allowing the group’s vocals to be the main focus, as they should be. “The Goodbye Kid” is probably the most glaring exception to this and is the one to look for if you want a little more variety in production. Maybe not quite something for everyone, as there’s not really anything overly upbeat, but there is a nice variety in style, so something for most.
Cool band. Nice, pleasant, comforting record. It will put a smile on your face.