If you're a country music lover, then let the bluegrass sounds of #Michael #van and #The Movers bring pleasure to your ears. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, this band is out to share authentic country music with a backbone.
Besides Michael Van, the band consists of Pete Ahonen, Alan Bond, Larry Lawson, and Bob Skye. Van comes from Georgia and isn't afraid to add the flavor of his southern background to his music. It harmoniously shines through his latest album A Little More Country. This album features 13 rich tracks, in addition to special musical guests Mark Berhard Stevenson, Noah Duvernell, and Paul Ohnemus.
And it was released on December 20th, 2016.
A Little More Country
Through this album, it's clear the band was aiming to get to the heart of the matter regarding life's challenges. These are common challenges of country music involving identity, romance, money, and heartbreak. According to Van, A Little More Country is about getting reacquainted with the simplicity and richness of life. This is the root of their music as they share simple truths through every song.
And this is what good country music is all about, right? It's this down-to-earth, melodic style that is allowing the band to carve a solid name for themselves in the independent music industry.
Traditional and alternative country sounds
As for the album's vocals, Van, Ahonen, and Bond make hearty contributions. Their singing sounds seasoned and gritty. I can hear the ups and downs of life through their voices, which gives the music well-rounded texture.
And the harmony between these singers, especially during the choruses, indicate a careful, balanced input of talent. But I'll admit that the singing sounds a little stiff in certain songs, yet it's not too off-putting. I really like the layered sound effect of voices in the chorus of "That Train."
As for the album's instrumentals, they consist of acoustic guitar, electric guitar, steel guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, bass, drums, and harmonica. Every band member makes a contribution in this area. The instrumentals provide a beautiful orchestration of traditional and alternative country sounds. They are vivid and lively, with good rhythm. They don't overpower the singing, despite the moodiness they possess. Overall, the music sounds the way a hardcore country fan would want it - cultured and soul-soothing.
As for the album's lyrics, they are bittersweet. For example, the song "Getting Drunk on a Monday" conveys the hardships of loneliness as it tells a story of lost love and too much old Bacardi (okay, maybe not too much for a country song).
Although this album has dark-natured tunes, they are balanced out by the catchy wordplay. So, you can enjoy some humor here and there. The songwriter(s) did a good job of nailing down the pragmatic qualities of country living.
In conclusion, this album deserves an 8 out of 10 rating. Take pleasure in watching the band's music video for the single "A Little More Country" below: