Red Clay River proudly comes out of Roanoke, Virgina and could very well be one of the most popular bands ever prior to releasing a full length album. My Red Clay River experience came at Deep Blues Festival ’09. My buddy from here in Florida had already tipped me off about them and made me promise to catch them live while I was there, and being a man of my word, I did. Afterward we went back, met the guys (and gal) and picked up their music. Nothing, neither of the two EP’s I picked up nor the live show I saw last summer, prepared me for what we’re getting from this album.
Now I was admittedly mostly drunk for the bulk of the ’09 incarnation of The Deep Blues Festival, so my recollection of Red Clay River there was of a pretty standard (albeit solid) country/folk effort. The cd’s we picked up were from miscellaneous other incarnations of the band, but if we’re painting in broad strokes the description is pretty much the same as above. So imagine my surprise when this cool little cd shows up full of all these neat percussive beats and sounds coupled with this sometimes plaintive balladeer and at other times Waits-esque rumbling ringleader, all stacked on a quiet & calm traditional folk/country skeleton. It’s enough to catch a man off his guard now, lemme tell you, and while this album may not contain my favorite version of “Rattlesnake Mountain”, it is certainly one of the most surprising and exciting albums so far this year. It’s also a shoe-in for the next Essential Listening collection. Check it out. Tell me what you think: