The Old Main – ‘Arlene’ – Album Review


OldMainWhen it comes to freshman album releases, one never knows what to expect.  Both the listener and the band are going in with completely clean slates – a fact that can either hurt or help new artists on the rise.  Luckily for folk-rock trio The Old Main, their debut album ‘Arlene’ is both fresh in slate and in sound.  However, while the band’s roots may lie deep in the Adirondack Mountains where they hail from, this is not your grandpa’s bluegrass. This is a younger, hipper brand of emerging folk enthusiasts sounding more like The Raconteurs and less like Roscoe Holcomb.

For the most part, this record is a fun, funky, and an all-around good time.  Tracks like “Buffalo Kill” and “Keep in Mind” could be described as an interesting mix of bands such as Blues Travelers, Barenaked Ladies and Phish.  Likewise, the album’s 4th track, “Tuesday,” offers a buoyant beat paired with soulful vocals.  These are the kind of tunes you put on your playlist for work when you need that extra boost of energy to get you through the day and the coffee’s just not cutting it. The ace in the hole however (or moon in the shine) is “One Night Lovin’.” From the fiddle solo to the bouncin’ banjo, this song about a jaded lover proves that even when they’re down The Old Main can still be uplifting (a feat that is much more difficult to master than it sounds).

It’s not all knee slapping good times though.  Ballads like “Winding Road” showcase the band’s more reflective side, with lyrics such as “sitting here and thinking of us in those days.  All those moments seem like a dream haze…”  The slow and easy final track “Lessons” also hits the heartstrings with observations that “The longest shadow ever cast; it’s not from man, it’s from his past.”  In a time in music where lyrics often take a backseat to production value it’s nice to see new bands out there that make emotion and lyrical content a top priority.

In short, ‘Arlene’ is a strong, solid record that manages to do an excellent job of balancing modern flair while still remaining true to their genre’s time-tested folk roots.  Whether The Old Main will make it to the top of the musical mountain charts is yet to be determined, but if this record is any indication it’s clear they’re going to have a heck of a lot of fun getting there.


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Kelly Mason / The Fuze Magazine


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