November 1, 2009

Americana Folkers: The Legendary River Drifters

(Reprinted from

To put it bluntly, I am a sucker for bands with a unique sound. Give me a band with influences from a much earlier period of time and I turn to goo. The Legendary River Drifters have joined the ranks of such Colorado-based, historically inspired bands as DeVotchKa, Paper Bird, and Widow’s Bane.

Like these bands, the folks at TLRD sound as if they have traveled through time to present music as it once was. The twang-ridden, rowdy music sounds like what you might expect from a small church or dance hall in Tennessee, circa 1870. While there are modern instruments incorporated into the band’s bumpkin lineup, the result is subtle, never detracting from the old-fashioned charm.

Dated as it may be, the sound is anything but simple. Between the five members, they make use of the harmonica, spoons, a mandolin, a saw, a banjo, the washboard, and more. Yet one of the more standout aspects is the lead vocalist, Suzanne. She has a strong, rambunctious voice that becomes as melodic as any professional crooner with the changing songs.

The songs themselves are as random as the lineup, reverting from heel stomping and careless to swaying and emotional. Two standout tracks are the brief, but wickedly clever “Bowl Me,” and “Soapy Rail Stomp,” with its intricate mandolin picking and banjo accompaniment.

BAND MEMBERS: Suzanne (vocals, washboard, saw); Olivia (harmonica, spoons, guitar); Cyrus (guitar); Matthew (bass); Darrick (drums); Curtis (banjo); and Joe (mandolin, vocals).

STYLE Folk, Americana, Country

IF YOU LIKE: DeVotchKa, Soggy Bottom Boys

LIVE: November 13th / Benders Tavern – with Widow’s Bane

No comments: