Let’s get one thing straight: classic rock, as we knew it in the late ’60s and ’70s is dead. Not dead in the sense that nobody listens to it, because we know that’s not true, but dead in the sense that there’s nothing new left to be done. Certainly one can take their classic influences, build upon them, make it his own, sometimes massacre the sound, and then re-influence new and upcoming bands. Although classic rock in the conventional sense is dead, Americana is not, and Oakley Hall is out to prove that.
Oakley Hall takes their name from the novelist of the same name, whose works centered on the American West. Paralleling this style, Oakley Hall the band bring the essence of Americana to life while building and creating a sound that, although still rooted in the American sound, is something totally their own, above and beyond.
The release of Oakley Hall’s I’ll Follow You brings the most real and raw American rock music to the forefront of every track. The co-ed harmonizing and tag team vocals keep the album fresh. This cohesive unit of instrumentation and vocals serves up a heaping helping of great rock and roll with country twang smothered all over it. The lap steel, violin and banjo that are warmly melted onto the tracks are your side orders, comparable to that unrecognizable dish your aunt makes at Thanksgiving that you thought you hated, but as you grow older you realize that you love it!
Likewise, I love this album, not merely because of its deep reminiscence to The Allman Brothers (who I love), but also because of the strategically placed jam breaks that you wish would never end but are culminated by the balance of their sweet and rough voices. There is not one bad track on this album. Building a strong foundation for I’ll Follow You is “Marine Life,” which sets the listener up in an intensifying way.
I’ll Follow You is Oakley Hall’s 4th studio album, but their first for Merge Records. And they couldn’t have picked a better inaugural piece of work for this new partnership. Oakley Hall’s six members have come together not only to create a great album, but to be named one, if not the best live band in New York. However you choose to get Oakley Hall’s music to your ears—whether you hear the album first and then see them live, or see them live, which then prompts you to buy the album—just do it.
My Morning Jacket – Z
Magnolia Electric Co. – What Comes After the Blues
Palace – Viva Last Blues
MP3: “No Dreams”