Warming Up a Wintry Night with Driftwood
Driftwood brought their American roots-rock show to Club Passim in Cambridge on a snowy, slushy night that they remarked was reminiscent of their show in the same venue a year ago. The weather may have kept a small number of people from attending the show, but those who made it were treated to a high-energy show by four talented musicians.
From the first notes, I was hooked. Most of the set was taken from their third album Driftwood which was released in 2013 and included favorites like “The Carburetor & the Steam Engine” as well as “Buffalo Street.” These songs, as well as many of the others, have intelligent lyrics and catchy rhythms, and I could not stop my body from moving to the beat.
The band is composed of Joe Kollar on banjo, percussion and vocals; Dan Forsyth on guitar and vocals; Claire Byrne on violin and vocals; and Joey Arcuri on upright bass and backing vocals. All the lead singers have good voices but I was particularly impressed with Byrne. She has a deep, rich voice that reminded me of some popular female Americana vocalists such as Rachael Price of Lake Street Dive or Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff.
Mike Kelly of Savoy (a band with which I am unfamiliar) sat with them on drums for one song, freeing Joe to play only the banjo and sing. He was a fine addition on that song.
The stage seemed crowded, yet they switched microphones and moved around one another as if they had all the space they needed, creating a visually interesting performance. Their faces are quite expressive as well.
Driftwood has developed a devoted local following, and for good reason. Their songs are accessible, with amusing lyrics (in “High School Paycheck” from their most recent release, the line, “because you are and so am I,” reminded me of childhood taunts and brought a smile to my face). Their voices are lovely, and they clearly love what they do.
If you enjoy the music of Old Crow Medicine Show, The Avett Brothers, or Mumford and Sons, you should also like Driftwood.
Click here to see photos from this show.