Indie Roots: Seattle’s Youth Rescue Mission
I’ve had to think a lot about home-schooling recently. I shudder at the thought of my kids being chewed up and spit out of the public school system, especially in a big city like Seattle. But on the other hand, I’m sure as hell not trained to educate them when I can barely focus on a written page for more than 20 seconds! But the shiny kids in Youth Rescue Mission make a pretty good case for homeschooling. Growing up in a tight-knit family, music was a natural way to be together. They’ve kept that closeness both in the band’s sound (interwoven harmonies, clapped and strummed rhythms reminiscent of a campfire singalong, hummable melodies) and the band’s aesthetic (their debut CD includes paper and instructions to make a paper airplane modeled on their cover picture). A band made up of four siblings: Hannah, Daniel, Luke, and Jesse Williams, Youth Rescue Mission also feature mom and dad and even an archival recording of their grandma on their eponymous debut CD. They’ve also got some great string arrangements, a whole lot of tambourine, and songs that are like a warm embrace on a cold, rainy NW day.
The opening track, “Problem Solver”, is a great intro to the band. With lines like “It’s time we found our own way” and “Hold your hope, and put your heart into it”, this is a band focused on the inner struggle of youth, a band working to find itself. If I was pressed to describe the roots of their sound, I’d have to say I think of them as a cross between kids who grew up in the country with singalongs from Rise Up Singing, and kids who soaked up the smooth urban vibe of TV shows like Reading Rainbow and Sesame Street. From the barnyard to the inner city, I’d say. But that’s a mediocre way to describe their complex sound, which is both homey and cosmopolitan at the same time.
They draw from obvious sources like The Head and the Heart, sharing the same hand-clapping fun and open-hearted sincerity. Which is a good thing. Some of the current crop of Seattle indie roots bands have come under fire from the press (notably Seattle Weekly and music journalist Eric Grandy) recently for their over-sincerity. And while I don’t want to see our city’s music scene devolve into emo mush either, it’s pretty damn hard to argue with bands whose music is just so nice. For my two cents, I think we all could use more love from friends and family, so let’s quit the hating and get back to building up our Northwest musical family. As the kids in Youth Rescue Mission sing, “It goes into your soul”. And that’s a nice way to describe the music coming out of our friendly, bearded folk community in these deep, dark Northwest woods.
Youth Rescue Mission: Problem Solver
Here’s a great video of a living room jam session w/Youth Rescue Mission
Also, have a listen to this endearing Youth Rescue Mission in studio from KEXP
This post originally appeared on the Hearth Music Blog. Check out our website and roam through our blog and Online Listening Lounge to discover your next favorite artist! We’re dedicated to discovering and promoting today’s best Roots/Americana/World musicians.