Jamestown Revival - San Isabel
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San Isabel (Jamestown Revival, 2019)

Jamestown Revival

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Jamestown Revival, the duo led by Zach Chance and Jonathan Clay, wanted to get back the group's early days of harmonizing together for "San Isabel." Their vocal blending is excellent throughout, but is at its most Everly Brotherly on "Harder Way" and "Round Prairie Road," two of the collection's quieter, acoustic songs. Whether the singing gives goosebumps (which each of these induce) or not, though, this is a moving, heartfelt set of songs.

Although vocal interplay is this album's greatest strength, these lyrics still address relevant social topics. "Crazy World (Judgement Day)" comments on the cultural turmoil of modern times. "I tried believing in the goodness of a man," they sadly sing. The latter, with its apocalyptic tone, is followed by the far more optimistic "This Too Shall Pass," which moves to a peppy, near rockabilly groove. With its handclaps, "hoo hoo" vocal chorus and whistling, is one joy filled tune.

Jamestown Revival songs are often old-fashioned sounding, which is a high compliment. Old fashioned, in that, unless a song features memorable vocal harmonies and equally memorable lyrics, it's not worth recording. It's like the difference between organic and inorganic foods at the grocery store. Some music, just like some food, seems a little too over-processed and over-produced and just plain unnatural. There should be an organic aisle at record stores for wholesome music like that of Jamestown Revival.

CDs by Jamestown Revival

San Isabel, 2019 The Education of a Wandering Man, 2016 Utah, 2014

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