If it seems crazy to compare any band today to giants like the Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers, then call me crazy, but Western Centuries is the country supergroup we've been waiting for: three first-rate lead singers, each of whom writes solid, heartwarming and heartbreaking country songs, together in one band.
Cahalen Morrison, Ethan Lawton and Jim Miller approach country music from three different vantage points: Morrison is known for his achingly beautiful duo project with Eli West; Lawton is a Seattle native and no-nonsense powerhouse on the Pacific Northwest bluegrass scene; and Miller is a founding member of jam band Donna The Buffalo.
Their first release is a collage of diverse songs within a coherent, cohesive album. You'll hear everything from straight honky tonk to hints of Zydeco, with a generous sprinkling of Southwest flavour throughout. And while their lyrics — introspective without being moody — merit close listening and deckchair appreciation, these songs are also tailor-made for the dance floor. There's just the right mixture of grit, polish and passion here, and every song's a winner.
To top it all off, the album features impressive, versatile musicianship. Morrison, Lawton and Miller don't just trade lead vocals and sing harmony on one another's songs; they also take turns playing electric guitar, acoustic guitar and drums. With the help of Rusty Blake on pedal steel, Dan Lowinger on bass and special guest Rosie Newton on fiddle, they just have the whole darn thing sewn up. Here's hoping this incredible collaboration isn't just a one-off, because I can't wait to hear their next album.