The Farewell Drifters - Tomorrow Forever
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Tomorrow Forever (Compass, 2014)

The Farewell Drifters

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

After two previous albums that didn't garner anywhere near sufficient attention, Nashville's Farewell Drifters take a dramatic leap forward with the all too aptly titled "Tomorrow Forever." It's not only a quick catch-up for those who haven't heard them before, but more importantly, a record that has the potential to propel them to the forefront of the new folk/pop vanguard, a gathering whose current roster includes such super successful troubadours as Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.

Fortunately, Farewell Drifters are far too good to be typecast according to current tastes or trends, and as opening track "Modern Age" makes clear at the outset, theirs is a kind of ebullience and exhilaration that proves immediately engaging. Making the most of a shuffle and a strum, or, alternately, a pluck and a stomp, the quartet maintains an upward glance in sync with their easy, breezy demeanor. Whether conveyed through a rousing chorale and its wordless refrain in the title track or the shimmering mandolins that brighten such songs as "Brother" and "Coming Home," these tunes strike with an immediacy that's clearly compelling. Even in their mellower moments - "To Feel Alive," "Motions" and "Tennessee Girl" in particular - the band strike a responsive chord, one that resonates with a clarity and purpose that's especially striking.

Admittedly, it's a crowded field these days in terms of savvy young Americana combos who have recently emerged both here and abroad. That's one reason why the enlistment of veteran producer Neilson Hubbard (Kim Richey, Matthew Perryman Jones) was a wise move, not only in terms of their sonic development, but also when it comes to upping the ante on their cred and cool. It's fair to say that "Tomorrow Forever" has maximum potential to be the band's big breakthrough, which will certainly be well deserved.


CDs by The Farewell Drifters

Tomorrow Forever, 2014 Echo Boom, 2011


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