Emperors Of Wyoming: Self Titled

Though the sounds which make the debut self titled album from Emperors Of Wyoming a release sure to ignite a multitude of hearts, they are not generally those which feed our personal passions but it is impossible not to be impressed and persuaded by the wealth of invention and inciteful songwriting enclosed. The ten songs of Americana, country and folk rock which call out from within the Wild West cloaked release, are heart borne slices of organic and distinctive sounds, the album itself one to evoke satisfaction and instinctive joy.

     Emperors Of Wyoming consists of Wisconsin musicians, brothers Frank and Pete Anderson, Phil Davis, and Butch Vig, four artists who all played in Madison bands in the seventies and eighties, sometimes together though never as a foursome. All are men with a friendship between them which time had no erosive power upon. Vig, who went on to be one of the most influential producers as well as the drummer in Garbage, played in a band with Phil called First Person before the pair began Fire Town, a band with similar elements to The Emperors Of Wyoming and went on to release two albums with Atlantic Records. The other members also had their important entrants in the Wisconsin scene but most importantly the friendship between the four never faded after they went their separate ways in life. 2009 saw them all come together with the idea of starting a new folk/country rock/band. They took their time to write and create the album, with all men using the internet to share their individual instruments, parts, and ideas with Frank Anderson as the hub. It has to be said listening to the songs one would never have the suggestion of this background to the recording in their minds, the sound a tight and cohesive presence in the ear.

Released through Proper Records, the album opens with the emotive The Bittersweet Sound Of Goodbye and instantly the album offers a natural breath which carries the essences of Tom Waits, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, and to a lesser extent Bob Dylan. It has its own unique voice though with engages from the first song with its whispered passion and concise play through to the final track of the album.

Next up Avalanche Girl is a stroll of jangling guitars and the Midwestern sensibility which pervades the whole release. It is a warm and melodic piece of country pop which easily slips through the ear with an infectious gait to its classy walk.

The Stones like I’m Your Man with its southern twang, the Traveling Wilburys toned Cornfield Palace, and Brand New Heart Of Stone, a resonating song with a Neil Young whispering, all treat the ear and emotions to skilfully crafted and heated slices of classic America. They are songs with a mesmeric quality without being overly infectious but sure to light up smiles on all who relish americana and country rock at its best.

Of all the songs the excellent Cruel Love Ways had these resistant intentions wrapped up in blissful satisfaction with its vibrant heart and rock energy. A song to easily lose oneself within, it is the best track on the album and one which blends the classic aspects of the release with a modern thrust.

Ending with two covers, the first a reworking of the traditional Wisconsin river ballad The Pinery Boy and the other a version of the John Martyn track Bless The Weather, the album is a sure fire heart pleaser for all with an americana and country rock passion, and to be honest it even had moments which had these muscular preferring preferences feeling nothing but enjoyment.

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RingMaster 16/09/2012

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