There are a few things I am a sucker for: comic book movies, 12 bar blues, Blue Bell Buttered Pecan ice cream, and Americana. The last is due mostly to the fact that as someone who grew up with the aggressive nature of the east coast; it is so nice to have a musical genre that forces me to slow down and think about just being a human being once in a while. When getting stressed out that the rest of the world isn’t moving fast enough, it is refreshing to put on some music that forces me to take a breath and look at the bigger picture.
This summer, Buckeye Knoll has been that band I turn to, for lack for a better term, calm the hell down. The real world is stressful enough. Having three jobs: a father of two, a financial analyst, and a writer on a site voted the #1 music review blog by my parents is stressful enough. It’s so refreshing to have an album that can wash away that stress. Their LP, Lovecreek, does all of that. Alex Price’s guitar is rich and light, Petter Labberton’s drums and Graham Rolak’s bass are gentle brush strokes. Doug Streblow channels Ben Gibbard’s softer side and the listener is swaddled in some down-home, west coast, porch-side listening.
But to say this is some easy listening venture is too simple. There are some catchy and energetic tracks like “Slow Moving” with its deliberate fingerpicked solos and soulful keyboard fills and the incredibly hooky “Back to You.” Most tracks make you want to go to REI, LL Bean, or some other outdoor fitter with random letters in their name to buy a framed backpack and a coffee percolator, grow a beard and take the slower lane in life. It is a great feeling to have, especially as the summer months wind down.
The lyrics aren’t overly complex, as the band tells us things like “you can’t take something old and turn it into something new” and “I am what I am and I know what I know,” but not every band we listen to needs to be incredibly profound. Occam’s Razor states “that the simplest explanation is usually the right one” and sometimes simplicity is beauty in music.
This is why I’m a sucker for Americana. It is simple, it is beautiful, and it forces me to slow down and think about the finer points of life. It makes the red lights in traffic more tolerable. It makes me want to wear more flannel. Go check out Buckeye Knoll and see if they make you want to go for a hike, or at the very least, force you to pause and look at life differently. Chances are it will.