Texas Kicks It Again
If you haven’t paid attention up to this point in my reviewing history at PopMatters so far, then let me reiterate a couple of points. The first is that most bands that I have reviewed from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania kick some serious ass. The second is that the first point applies to the second point, only substitute Austin, Texas for Philly and there you have it. I don’t know what it is about those two cities. Perhaps it’s the water, or maybe it’s just the living, but I have yet to go wrong by any bands from either location.
So add Austin’s Local Folk to that ever-growing list. On Here Goes Everything, the band creates raw and earnest rock with just the right amount of twang. Front man Jon Folk has real grit to his voice that can only come from a genuine southern source in America. This isn’t your prefab Nashville pop slop with a wink and a smile. Folk’s singing makes you believe, and that’s what matters most here. He lists such diverse acts as The Replacements, Steve Earle, Tom Petty, and John Fogerty among his influences, and you can hear a hint of each of those legends within Folk’s own music here.
The rest of the band features J. Scott Gilmore on lead and rhythm guitars, Hellertown, Pennsylvania native (there’s that PA again!) Jill Csekitz on drums, and Jason Radcliff on bass. Together, this band creates straightforward, no nonsense rock that never fails to impress. From the opening and wonderful track “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, to the soulful slow dancer “She’s Got a Way” that closes the disc, Here Goes Everything shines from top to bottom. I certainly like the dynamic “Replaced”, featuring some great groove drum work from Csekitz and Folk’s insistent “I wanna stay, I wanna come on over” chants, as he declares “I don’t wanna be alone tonight, no / I . . . / I don’t wanna be replaced”. Folk’s rhythm guitar works like magic along with Gilmore’s electric six string, as Radcliff keeps the bottom down tight with his remarkably textured bass work. In fact, Radcliff and Csekitz are often the highlight of the group, laying down their patterns with ease. Just listen to a song like “Texas State Line” or “Miss You Sometimes” to see what I mean.
The band also hits high notes on the Spanish “Reemplazo de Corazon”. Even though the track is a mere 36 seconds long, the instrumental majesty that it produces is worth hearing time and time again. It’s subtle, yet just as powerful as anything else on Here Goes Everything. “Everything” is indeed the case here, as Local Folk are not afraid to show what they are capable of doing and proudly putting it on display. The same can also be said for the sweeping and powerful “She Drank Whiskey” in which Folk gives it his best Steve Earle/Tom Petty jolt and sings lines like “She did cocaine! / Till her mind was rattled / Yeah, heaven knows that girl / Is too far gone”, as well as the sweet and yearning “Miss You Sometimes”.
For the music fans out there that like their rock a little down and dirty with just a bit of a down home accent, then Local Folk has just what you need. Here Goes Everything rocks passionately, yet keeps itself in check without going too far on the tilt towards self-parody or rock shlock. Indeed, the band has a number of bittersweet and wistful moments on here, and that’s what strikes the right balance for the album. Not that Jon Folk and his group have anything to worry about. Here Goes Everything proves that the band is quite capable of 11 memorable songs that go down easy and make you want more.