‘Weary Traveller‘ is the second album from Americana-Folk trio The Deep Hollow. Coming out of Springfield Illinois (not that Springfield), the three band members have honed their craft in a variety of projects. Singer/guitarist Dave Littrell fronts a progressive rock band (The Station), singer Liz Eckert has a community theatre background while Micha Walk trades alt-rock in his own Micah Walk Band.
This seemingly eclectic mix fuses in ‘The Deep Hollow’ which offers each member a different outlet for their folk leanings – and lucky for us it does! They discovered that their voices blend into something quite special and harmonies figure highly on ‘Weary Traveller’. And what better way to showcase those harmonies than to give them room to grow and breathe around spacious acoustic and pedal steel arrangements of folk inflected Americana, and ‘Weary Traveller‘ abounds with these. Throw in some strings here and there and chirpy mandolin runs, but never forgetting that songs are meant to be enjoyable, and you have a recipe for a hugely enjoyable experience. The lyrics may explore themes of searching – from the open road to stable relationships: “Sorry is not what you got to be/Just keep hangin’ on with me,” but the music complements with some beautifully uplifting moments.
The opener ‘Real Life’ sets the scene brilliantly – what Americana album shouldn’t start with a line like “My daddy told me son/You can’t count on anyone.” It takes life by the scruff of the neck admitting “I Don’t know where I’m going” but asks “What are you waiting for? Real life to begin?” And there is our challenge, and message – let’s get going with this thing – whatever this thing is. The track has a vivacity that compels attention. Anyone can enjoy this song; it’s the kind of tune that gets people into Americana music. Imagine the number of people who perked up the first time they heard ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ in the film ‘Oh Brother where art thou?’ The tune has that kind of feel. The songs are all life affirming, even later on in ‘Anna’s Gone,’ a reflection on loss which asserts that we “Get busy living or get busy dying.” The album manages to knit anguish and hope at every turn.
And if ‘Real Life’ doesn’t suck you in, then ‘Freedom Street’ will have you sighing about how much you miss Civil Wars. But listen close and the message here is a reflection on justice and inequality. ‘Now I See’ reels back into a slower minor key with a realisation that “I’ve been a weary traveller without a bed” and “an uninspired poet without a muse,” but what “I should have been was with you” – life lessons beautifully delivered.
The harmonies are a standout on this record, with each band member making a significant contribution, but Liz Eckert puts in a particularly fabulous lead on ‘Carry Me Home’. And these tunes get in your head – do not be surprised to find yourself signing ‘Wide Open Road’ after just a couple of listens – an upbeat damn it all, hitch your britches, we’ll get through this together song that would grace any radio play list.
The Deep Hollow have delivered a beauty of a second album – it deserves to put yet another Springfield on the map.
Terrific sophomore album of folk inflected Americana