Low Water Bridge Band “Back to the Valley”

Independent, 2023

Lively alt-country telling authentic tales from the Virginia mountains.

Album cover artwork for 'Back to the Valley' by Low Water Bridge BandFormed in 2020, Low Water Bridge Band hail from Clarke County, Virginia, a town about 40 miles northwest of Washington DC. However, more importantly, it is also about 15 miles from the edge of the Shenandoah National Park and this is key to understanding this album which follows on from their debut ‘Midnight In Virginia’. It has a very powerful aura of music being influenced by the quiet seclusion of the Virginia mountains with their dark secrets, and so feels different to work produced by other bands in more urban environments,

The music is lively alt-country, with lots of steel guitar played beautifully by Justin Carver, but with hints of soul, blues and bluegrass added on various tracks. Lead singer and guitarist Logan Moore has written many of the tracks with other writing being done by the Kerns brothers, Alex and Riley, who provide excellent harmonies in addition to their duties in the rhythm section. Other members are Rudy Bzdyk (piano, fiddle, trumpet) and James “Chainsaw” Montgomery (lead guitar).

It is clear that members of the group have spent time in the mountains and that this has influenced them in writing many of the tracks. Alex Kerns moved with his family into a log cabin by the Shenandoah river and wrote ‘Place On a Hill’, with its waltz rhythm, as a tribute to their new home, saying “we began to grow as a family as the inspiration for creativity flooded our home”. Kerns also has the 3/4 rhythm in ‘Small Town Affair’ which describes the real-life problems of dating in a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. He goes back to the mountains in ‘Clarke County Clay’ where a tormented family man slips through ice and drowns.

‘Siren Of The Shenandoah’, with a banjo giving it a bluegrass feel, is one of two songs to carry on the tradition of the “murder-ballad”. It had its origins in a canoe trip under a full moon down the river by Moore, whose imagination was stimulated by the lonely cry of a fox. The other one of the two, ‘She Doesn’t Answer’, with its memorable chorus is the most blues-influenced track with Hammond Organ added in nicely.

It’s not just Shenandoah that they write about. ‘600 Reasons’, the swinging opener with plaintive vocals and a great mix of steel guitar, fiddle, harmonies and twanging guitar is a good story of them being initially excited to go to play in Nashville to support “a diva star not quite burned out”. By the end of the song, after being told “in a pretty harsh way” they weren’t going to be paid, they can’t wait to get back home to the mountains. In Riley Kerns’ country-soul ‘Hope It’s You’ the writer hopes that friendship can become more, while Alex’s moving ‘Slow Down’ is about his emotions while dealing with the death of a good friend from cancer.

The authentic tales from the wilds give the album real coherence. This, allied to the swinging alt-country, makes it a very good listen.


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