In their new single, "Heart Won't Break", they've created an awesome fusion of so many genres that help keep them firmly planted as an Americana band. I've always considered Americana one of the most misunderstood genres out there as people just want to write it off as country or folk and it's so much more than that. It's the Mississippi Delta of music. It's where rock and roll meets folk and combines with urban influences and a "take no prisoners" sensibility just like the heart of our country and the never give up attitude that makes being part of this country so strong and great. They've taken all these influences that seemingly don't work together and they're all blended into one amazing song here, whether it's the squeezebox or it's the mandolin which brings that earthy sound or it's the slight beatbox and the upbeat pop influences that push it toward a whole pop direction, they are still the same band that's grounded in emotion and feeling that they've never ever shied away from.
The four vocalists in the band all have tremendous strengths and it's incredibly smart how they're used. Brittany can offer so much power and emotion to her vocals like in "Bethlehem Steel" or "Bottom of the River" while Liz brings comfort and warmth to songs like "If I Loved You" or "Heart Won't Break." Eric tends to be much more the male counterpart to Liz offering a similar perspective but from a male voice while Ian is the counterpoint to Brittany. They're all versatile enough to pull off any vocal task given them but they are the best when the song they take the lead vocal on matches the breadth and scope of their voices. Liz always amazes me with how hearty her vocals are, even on songs where she's breaking up with you - you still feel like things will be ok and while the hurt may be strong and fresh, it's not going to last forever.
I've been writing about this band for seven years. I've seen them grow and become the group they are today and it's because they are smart and wise and choose their own path and they're the group they want to be on their own terms. They explore and grow and they forge their own path while staying true to who they are and the narrative they have to tell. I adore them. I'm lucky to be able to call them friends and I think they continue to inspire and amaze me. I've seen them live 3 times and that's not nearly enough and I need to make a point to get back out there and see them more because they tell the stories that matter and they're crafting a legacy like no other.