The third studio release from the Asheville, N.C.-based Resonant Rogues is an eclectic mix of folk and country with touches of jazz and bluegrass. The ensemble is the duo of Sparrow and Kevin J. Smith, who wrote all 12 songs.
Some dark themes are pondered as with the ominous title track performed by Sparrow that deals with personal grief ("How can I do my best, with this whale upon my chest") and confronts mortality ("It's the autumn of the world, and I am just a frightened girl/We're all here, but who knows for how long") featuring Kristen Harris on fiddle.
Sparrow delivers some social commentary on the unfair implementation of eminent domain in "The House That Condos Stole" ("And in they'll come, with cranes, it's done, they'll doze it to the floor/And those who already have enough will keep on taking more"). Similarly Smith sings of the plight of the downtrodden in "Watching Those Wheels Roll" ("There's a whole lotta things in this world to do/But we fit like a glove under wealthy men's shoes").
The jazzy "Dueling With the Demons" finds Sparrow battling with insomnia caused by an imagined demon ("He fills my head with an awful din/And it keeps me up, how rude of him") and spotlights Smith on guitar and Ben Hovey on trumpet. Other highlights are the upbeat country track "Be Around My Darlin'" featuring Sparrow on accordion and John James Tourville on pedal steel, and the instrumental "Zeus Faber" with Daisy Castro on violin and more slick guitar work from Smith.
Produced by the band members, this is an appealing effort with smart songs and strong performances from Sparrow, Smith and their bandmates.