Folk Family Revival Unleashes Unfolding
Back a bit before we typed this sentence, Jeffery Armstreet over at Magnolia Red asked us to brave the cannibal-infested jungles between Houston and his studio/label in Magnolia to come do some listening of his latest project. Seriously, it is like driving to another country where the exports are banjos, chickens and smiles.
Initially we declined, what with gas at the current price and not owning a machete, but he tempted us with a chance to hear the eagerly awaited second album from Shellee Coley.
Though we did get a chance to hear an early cut of Coley, and it does stomp colon deep enough to strike oil, the purpose of the visit was to introduce us to Mason Lankford of the Folk Family Revival and their debut album, Unfolding.
We'd been avoiding the project, despite the fact that Magnolia Red rarely sends us anything but jaw-dropping awesomeness. We usually change the subject when the word "folk" appears in conversation, unless it's preceded by the word "neo," and the word "revival" makes us painfully aware of how much we're looking forward to going to hell.
Well, the unborn chickens are on our face because the music that Lankford has so casually let loose upon the unsuspecting eardrums of the people is simply too great to be real. Folk Family Revival does indeed some up the sound nicely. The four Lankford brothers channel Dylan, Petty, Cash, and most of all their own amazing brand of... whatever it is.
The depth of the songs on Unfolding is just unbelievable, especially coming from a songwriter who hasn't even crawled out of his teens yet. Roadsongs, heartbreaks, and unflinching look at popular religion make up the lyrical content buoyed upon a combination of catchy modern pop production and pure Appalachian style country. And while the music is genius, it is as a lyricist that Lankford truly excels.
Case in point, just from listening to the album on the way back home the opening line of 'Chasing a Rabbit" helped birth an entirely new column here at Rocks Off. Lankford throws out bit of brilliant verse like he's feeding bread to pigeons. The song's furious pace of Revelation-like attack on commercial hellfire and brimstone is full of lines like "the bank of Christopher's Columbus' wasteland," a phrase we still think should have been the album's title.
Or take one of Unfolding's love songs, like "Fallin'." Almost every single sung bit of sonic prose is worthy to be held up as poetry, but we're a particular fan of "You can break the ropes/ But you can't break the spell/ You can have high hopes, but you're still going to fail." In the end, every time you turn around the Folk Family Revival hits you with another undeniable bit of hard truth and soft caress that leaves you raw and clean as a freshly baptized baby.
Yet another incredible release from Magnolia Red and fast on its way to our personal Top 10, Unfolding promises some truly brilliant things from Folk Family Revival. We can't wait to hear more.
We had a chance to talk to Mason Lankford via the magic of the Internet. Continue to Page 2 to read.