The Wynntown Marshals “Westerner”
I get a real buzz when I get to listen to British band who’ve soaked up the influences of American roots music and formed into something that maintains that vibe but with a distinct UK side too, Westerner is the debut album from The Wynntown Marshals‘ the first listen got me hooked into this one, given the style and the bands origin, formed in Edinburgh in 2007, it’s hard not to draw comparisons and this is another great album of Scottish Americana right up there with the excellent Buffalo Mansions – Southpaw and Attraction Versus Love – Endrick Brothers.
Westerner is a wonderful set of guitar rich, melodic numbers, blended with steel and keys to create a superb debut, ten originals and a stellar cover of L.A. Guns Ballad of Jayne – released as a single and getting radio play and plaudits from Bob Harris, the band have honed their skills playing support slots for Jason and the Scorchers, Chuck Prophet and Richmond Fontaine and pulled in an experienced hand to handle production, Graham Deas who’s previously worked for both KT Tunstall and Super Furry Animals.
Keith Benzie (lead vocals / guitar / harmonica) is the bands main songwriter and his words are brought to life by Keith Jones (drums, vocals, percussion), Iain Sloan (pedal steel, guitars, vocals), Iain Barbour (lead and baritone guitars), Murdo MacLeod (bass, vocals) with additional vocals from Leigh Benzie and keys by Ali Petrie. There are plenty of highlights on the album, whether it’s the opener which eases you in and sets the mood just right with a classic mid-tempo country rock sound You Can Have My Heart or Snowflake a contemplative number inspired by the world’s only albino gorilla, the biographical song Gil about American pin-up artist Gil Elvgren or the cover Ballad of Jayne which is already a firm favourite, the band are equally confident with the albums darker moments, Divine Compassion as they are with tracks like the pedal laden shuffle Nelly or the instrumental el Prado, a real sum of it’s parts this one, solid start to finish, essential listening.