Glenn Yoder & The Western States “Inherited Darkness” (Independent 2017)

Glenn Yoder’s been churning out top-class Americana for a dozen years or so, and is now managing to both move with the times while remaining true to his roots. Since 2013, he’s been working with The Western States, a band of no-nonsense harbingers of swing who know they bring out the best of each other in an environment conducive to foot tapping.

A raw edge is the predominant sound, with bassist Jeremy Moses Curtis at the production helm. The band have honed their trade on the road and it shows, coming over well-drilled but open to interpretation, including intriguing album artwork by artist Rachel Orr. Feelgood numbers like Drive West have a Gram Parsons vibe, while darker moments like Kill Devil Hills bring to mind modern-day Mark Knopfler. There’s something to please fans of most Southern rock ‘n roll here, from country to grungy, without veering off the tracks into the realms of off-genre. “Inherited Darkness” has a bit of everything… and wears it well.

Glenn cultivates a direct, no bullshit style of songwriting which inclines the head to the Tom Petty school of Heartbreakers as much as anyone. There’s a comforting aura of whiskey-soaked sorrow jostling for position with foot stomping rug cutters. Yes, there’s room for some folk-rock noir moments of Nick Cave-esque modernity in She’s Broken and Dark Side, but it’s all just rock ‘n roll really, as Yoder demonstrates on I Don’t Want To Love You Any More when he laments “We only get along well when we’re drinking/We drink a lot these days”. The guitar trades off with the harmonica while the drums keep thumping down and you know that whatever ‘it’ is, Glenn Yoder & The Western States have got it.

Author: Tim Merricks

Made for London in millennium year, formed a country band and travelled the world. Currently settled in Camden Town haunting open mic nights and enjoying the roots revival of bands like Kitty Daisy and Lewis and Curse of Lono.

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