The Texas music scene seems to be settling into two camps as it matures, Honky Tonk and Countrified Classic Rock. But slowly a more “rootsy” segment has developed that doesn’t quite fit into either one. It’s there that Folk Family Revival is trying to carve their niche.
Folk Family Revival is made up of four “brothers”, although only three are actually blood related. Mason, Barrett and Lincoln Lankford met up with Caleb Pace when they were in their pre-teens while standing up for him in a squabble at church. After realizing they all shared an affinity for music, they began playing together, eventually settling on a hard rock sound. But, once they got in the recording studio they tried on one of their more country leaning songs and realized that was the style they wanted to develop.
As everything coming out of Texas these days, Folk Family Revival seems to be combination of styles. They aren’t a roots band in the traditional sense. The production on their debut, Unfolding, is clean and polished. The instrumentation seems to fade into the background on many of the songs, which, while the actual subject matter may vary, all have an underlying spirituality to them.
Unfolding opens with the uptempo, almost typical Red Dirt/Texas sounding title track about trying to hold on to someone while at the same time realizing she’s not going to stay. It’s followed by “Fallin’,” a blues tinged song of fighting an attraction to a “cold hearted woman.” One can imagine the poor soul in a seedy motel room, whiskey bottle on the table, a flashing neon sign outside the window, pacing the floor because “I’d like to go to sleep/But I’m afraid of fallin’.”
About midway through the disc is the first real gem, “Mountains,” an upbeat song with a hint of bluegrass that sounds more like it came from the Appalachian hills rather than plains of Texas. “Dream All Night” is the album’s most romantic track, a beautiful song that avoids the trap of becoming sappy. “Addicted to the Road” is a self-explanatory ode to the life of the troubadour. “Come Get Me” is easily the most raw, roots sounding song on the CD.
The final two songs bring the band’s spirituality more to the surface, and at the same time decry religion. The anti-religion angle is subtle on “Chasing a Rabbit”, but comes through loud and clear on “Ye of Little Faith” (“I hate your religion/And all your sinful ways/I hate your mask of holiness/You use to hide your shame”)
In between ,there are some of the typical looking for love/found love/lost love songs which would sound good on most albums, but here they feel like filler. As debut’s go, there is a lot to be excited about with this band. And hopefully they will continue to bring a variety to a Texas music scene that is increasingly becoming more homogenized.