Raw offering of acoustic indie-folk / Americana from Texas.
Buxton are an indie folk band based out of Houston, Texas, with twenty years and five albums behind them. ‘A Family Light’ is one of those albums, but one which never quite saw the light of day when it was first recorded in 2008, as the label they were on at the time was, in the band’s words, “quite literally disassembling its offices as (we were) doing overdubs”. Tricky business, this music lark, sometimes.
Anyway, fast forward 15 years to 2023, and having been picked up by the New West label and released three further records, the band are now re-releasing ‘A Family Light’ (including a vinyl version, which is always nice to hear). It is a potpourri of original indie folk tunes; there is a strong Americana, even bluegrass, thread at times, with acoustic guitar and mandolin heavily in the fore, accompanied by electric lead, fiddle and a nicely understated rhythm section, too.
The songs are slightly varying in quality, as perhaps might be expected from a band finding their way, but the best are very, very good indeed. ‘Flame’ is probably the stand-out song, with a really loose, easy, rolling rhythm played with acoustic guitar and banjo, and an equally relaxed and lovely vocal with some delicate harmonies. ‘Bones’ and ‘Shake Your Hand’ are similarly swoonsome.
Some of the songs are a little more abrasive ( the almost rockabilly hollering of ‘Holy Water Revival’, the frantic, mandolin-driven ‘Westward’), but mostly the content lives up to their billing as indie folk.
There’s a good feel to the album as a whole, a sense that this is a real band playing their songs in a natural setting. The record has a very unvarnished sheen, no compression and auto-tuning in evidence at all. In fact, it frequently sounds as if the band have set up in a room with a microphone in the middle of it, and just played. If modern bluegrass and indie is your bag (think Trampled by Turtles, Chatham County Line, Mandolin Orange, Low Anthem), then you are likely to find plenty to enjoy here.