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The Way Down Wanderers The Way Down Wanderers
Album: The Way Down Wanderers
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 12

This is the first full album from The Way Down Wanderers, a bunch of five musicians from the States who have been causing quite a stir since been named as Chicago's best emerging artists in 2014.

Their live shows have wowed audiences with their off-stage encores and their reputation for impromptu sets at stops along their tour routes.

They showed much promise in their first two Eps Path To Follow and the live offering Wellspring

With flailing banjo and frantic fiddle, the album gets off to a storming start with the foot-stomping Dead Birds.

But these guys are well-honed from touring and their harmonies are spot on in the next song, Sweet Morning Vision, the fiddle and banjo are still there but more restrained.

Throughout the vocals are strong and clear, and the song-writing crisp.

There is some insistent mandolin on New Day Dawning, with some lovely backing vocals as does the anthemic Heading North.

The arrangement on Circles, with a piano backing, shows a growing maturity, there is some sweet double bass high in the mix on Hollow Man, Wildfire features sparkling banjo and harmonious vocals and a driving rhythm.

It comes as no surprise to discover these boys were finalists in an international songwriting competition last year. The writing is assured and poised beyond their years.

Blacktop Highway nods to their travels together with some pretty organ fills and an extended guitar solo. Changing has a more grungy feel. Silver Days is one of the strongest tracks here - with its haunting double bass and vocal intro before blossoming into an accordion/fiddle accompaniment.

The Way I love You Now features mile-a-minute rhythm that will no doubt go down a storm in a live set.

The final song, Midnight Flowers, captures the mood - a plaintive plea featuring a solo guitar and powerful vocals. Great stuff.

Make no mistake this is an impressive debut from The Way Down Wanderers. Well done guys!

John Knighton