On their second full-length release, Sorrows and Glories, Canadian folk darlings, Red Moon Road, catalogue dynamic musical narratives indebted to traditional and contemporary forms of roots music.
Mining the genre’s gospel histories, the trio begins with “Beauty in These Broken Bones”, an enchanting acapella spiritual ministered by Sheena Rattai’s soulful croon. The group excavates another kind of history in “Sophie Blanchard 1778.” Rattai chronicles the tragic story of an 18th Century French aeronaut, her voice floating among a French ambience aroused by mandolins, accordions, clarinets, and player pianos. The band even returns to an ancient past in “Cassiopeia”, summoning the mythological goddess with reverberating guitars and chilling harmonies.
Feeling very much a part of the contemporary moment, the trio also infuses their roots style with flavors of pop. For example, “I’ll Bend But I Won’t Break” offers a chorus with a powerful quarter-note hook redolent of Mumford and Son’s “I Will Wait.” And “Words of the Walls” juxtaposes quirky syncopation with a jazzy vocal intensity reminiscent of Lake Street Dive.
While “Sorrows and Glories” doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, Red Moon Road spins out twelve energetic songs of well-crafted folk.