Kieran Ridge & The Moonrakers come up with an album that fits the term americana really well.
Since the term americana came into use there were always questions posed about what that genre as such encompasses and, in any case, what should be denoted as “real” americana. Not that this debate will go away any time soon, if ever, since every fan that appreciates the genre has her/his own vision of what it does include. Yet, there is some musical middle ground that each and every one of them will point to as ‘real’ Americana, something left-field of country, with various amounts of folk, blues, soul, and rock is thrown in there for good measure.
It is exactly this, maybe we can call it ‘middle ground’ where Boston singer-songwriter Kieran Ridge & The Moonrakers exist, particularly on their self-titled, fourth album. No wonder then that his previous efforts have been so widely played on quite a few Americana radio shows across the U.S. and Canada. But it is not solely about fitting the Americana genre so well – to achieve that you do have to come up with music that sticks, not only with its song and lyric writing but some excellent playing to go along with it.
All of these elements are present here. Ridge’s songwriting craft is certainly well above average, and his vocals fit the songwriting and lyrics with aplomb and ease. The Moonrakers (Hannah Rose Baker on fiddle, Liam Dailey on mandolin and banjo, Pat Hannafin on drums and percussion, and Michael Doughty on the bass) are considered as some of Boston’s best Americana musicians and that is evident throughout the album, particularly on tracks like ‘Somewhere on the Edge of Town’ and ‘Fear of Flying.’
Whether Kieran Ridge & The Moonrakers can be dubbed “real americana” may be debated by some but not by Americana UK – still, there’s no debate about the real quality of their music.