It all started with a self-titled EP and a first song called “Life Crisis” that is a prime introduction to North Carolina’s River Whyless. A steady drum leads you in, then a rush of claps, harmonies as smooth as glass, leading lady Halli Anderson’s violin, and lyrics that envelope you. Each member of the foursome (joining Halli is Daniel Shearin, Ryan O’Keefe and Alex McWalters) brings forth their sublime musical talents, their countless instruments flooding each track that gathers sounds of folk, bluegrass and country, and infuses it with emotion, a sense of nature and etheareal beauty.
Their second album called A Stone, a Leaf, an Unfound Door released in 2012 continued the band’s purpose of making music that’s layered, collaborative, soulful. They toured with it well, and didn’t rush the process of turning around a third album. Instead they took their time, retreated to the landscapes of Maine, found a new energy, a more experimental sound, and then released We All the Light on Roll Call Records.
You can hear on this album what a conscious effort it was to push the band’s sound into new territory, adding to it another dimension—one that’s hippie-ish, full of wanderlust, and not just an Appalachian folk but a world folk. The first track “Baby Brother” introduces the inspiration for the album name when they sing “Well you can talk to God in the morning when you are sober. Well you can talk to me when you are fucked up tonight. We all deserve the light.” And we really do, don’t we?
w/ Mail the Horse