Colorado Springs, Colorado-based country/folk-rock outfit Westrock recently dropped their debut album, Welcome to the River.
Speaking to the album, Westrock shares, “‘Welcome to the River’ is meant to be stories of people who are happier outside. Whether it is agriculture or recreation, the common theme is friends, adventures, and peace found somewhere in the sun.”
Made up of Dave Beegle (electric guitar, bass), August Huckabee (vocals, acoustic guitar), Amy Ballinger (backing vocals, mandolin), Christian Teele (drums), and Enion Pelta-Tiller (fiddle), Westrock formed in 2018, the creation of frontman August Huckabee, who grew up in West Texas. Westrock’s sound mirrors the Red Dirt Country influences of Huckabee’s native state.
Encompassing nine tracks, Welcome to the River’s entry points include the contagious country-rock flavors of the first track, “Dirty Girl,” opening on hefty washes of guitars accented by Pelta-Tiller’s crying fiddle. A dazzling, incandescent guitar solo gives the tune tight, keening coloration.
The title track opens on a bouncing, thumping rhythm as the fiddle glides overhead. Huckabee’s slightly drawling, twangy-lite voice imbues the lyrics with tasty country aromas. On the chorus, the tune ramps up to potent levels. Pelta-Tiller’s superb fiddle injects the song’s ending with sizzling hues.
A personal favorite, “Dark Horse,” opens on low-slung harmonics riding a measured rhythm. Rumbling drums shift to a light sidestick, followed by the melody gathering momentum, followed by stellar guitar licks.
“Quiet Place” and “Hannah Jayne” slow things down, rolling out on graceful tones topped by Huckabee’s warm, velvety voice. While “Cowgirl from Bruneau” elevates on rollicking waves of country-rock, rife with bright and breezy textures. I love the drums on this track, round and resonant toms complementing the pop of the snare. The antiphony between the lead guitar and the fiddle infuses the song with dual layers of dynamic coloration.
The final track, “Hey Hey,” features a captivating country melody with tangs of blues-rock running through it, while the rhythm delivers savors of country funk.
Welcome to the River is excellent, delivering straightforward country, folk, and rock essences varnished by sophisticated layers of instrumentation.