Screen Door Porch’s rootsy style relies heavily on the interplay between singer/guitarist Seadar Rose and Aaron Davis. That continues to be the heart of the band on Modern Settler, their third album, but the new rhythm section of bassist Tom Davidson and drummer Andy Peterson slides into the band easily. The songs of Modern Settler run the roots-rock gamut, from the bright rock of “Wicked Ways” to the swampy acoustic blues of “Chasin’ Homesteader Blues” to the ‘70s soul cover of Bobby Charles’ “Street People”, complete with horn section.
Rose’s rich, soulful voice may be the band’s best asset. Whenever she gets a lead vocal opportunity (only three out of 10 songs), it grabs the listener’s attention. She’s great on harmonies as well, and generally overpowers Davis whenever they duet. Which is not meant to insult Davis, who has plenty of oomph in his own voice, but isn’t quite as distinctive. His best songs here — the rambling, nostalgic “1937” and the bouncy, aspirational “Wish I Was a Teton” — are plenty distinctive musically. The two of them work great together and Modern Settler is a strong record that finds Screen Door Porch exploring all the various aspects of their sound.