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.