‘Glory Bound’ from The Grahams – “… drives with the power of a heavy locomotive”(August 31, 2015)
Americana, like folk, has enough definitions to make your head swim. The ‘what is’ and ‘what isn’t’ Americana debate rages as strongly as the ‘folk-not-folk’ argument, which interests me not at all. If it’s good music, it’s good music and it stands where it stands, and who gives a damn about the ‘boxes’ that some feel compelled to place around it. ‘Glory Bound’, the latest album from Alyssa and Doug Graham ranges widely across its musical foundations taking influences from folk, country and rock, and the result is an album that drives with the power of a heavy locomotive, which is precisely where the The Grahams found their inspiration. Their debut ‘Riverman’s Daughter’ took its inspiration from the water, this one soaks up the vibrant energy of the rails – America’s sprawling rail network.
"After we recorded Riverman's Daughter, we were listening to a lot of Woody Guthrie," Alyssa explains. "The song 'Farmer Labor Train' kept sticking in our minds, so we wanted to write a song about trains. We wrote 'Glory Bound,' then decided that we really wanted to ride the trains in honor of Guthrie, Lead Belly and other old folk legends who used the train system to bring voices together.”
The songs take you through powerhouse tracks like the memories of ‘Glory Bound’ and the rough truth of ‘Gambling Girl’, each in their own way evoking the travels of life. More of its vagaries reflect through the longing within ‘Blow Wind Blow’, the soft hope of ‘Mama’ and the gentle relaxation of ‘Biscuits’ and ‘The Spinner’. The whole album feels like folk having a good time from punchy guitar to gutsy vocals, and for me that’s all the categorisation this music needs.
Alyssa states: "Our songs are pretty simple. Just feel something. Have a good time. Enjoy the music and listen to the echoes." I’ll go with that.
Review: Tom Franks