The inviting balladry of the Rails evokes bygone traditions of the British Isles.
The husband and wife duo of the Rails (James Walbourne and Kami Thompson) released their debut album Fair Warning last year on the resurrected Pink Label of Island Records. The Pink Label was home to the albums of Richard and Linda Thompson, Kami's parents, so it was a fitting tribute. The album hasn't made a huge splash amongst critics as there are few reviews online for it. But Fair Warning is a contemporary album of ballads that evoke bygone musical traditions from the British Isles.
The band was one of many that came up in a conversation with Ben Watt during a recent interview, and just one of the few that are still around. It was fortunate they were coming to New York just a few months later for a couple of shows, including one at Joe's Pub.
The audience, which included David Byrne, was very receptive to the Rails, and particularly forgiving as Kami told everyone that she caught a bug from her brother Teddy. Their second song was the vibrant "William Taylor", perhaps my favorite on the album, with sounds like a traditional folk story of a girl and a soldier but ends with a twist. Walbourne's guitar and voice shown on "Panic Attack Blues" as he stomped out an energetic beat. The duo ended their brief set with "Gypsy Gate", a song that may come out on a follow up album but has been in the works since at least 2011. It was a warm farewell to the audience but the duo graciously signed albums after the show. They do have a show Feb 6th in New York, but if they aren't coming to your town, give their album listen. Fair Warning possesses the timeless qualities of a folk album that will make you revisit it often.