[Photo by Dan Miller]
Calling The Low Anthem a four-piece would be a vast underestimation. Indeed, there are four of them: Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystowsky, Jocie Adams and (the very recent addition) Cyrus Scofield. But there are far more than four instruments at work in this music, and it's the thickness of the sound and the warm tone of the vocals that make The Low Anthem the perfect soundtrack for this very second.
Hailing from Providence, R.I., The Low Anthem released Oh My God, Charlie Darwin in September, the follow-up to their 2007 debut, What the Crow Brings. Their rich acoustic sound is infused with country, rock, rock-a-billy, blues rhythms and Americana folk. They achieve a versatility from one track to the next that's quite refreshing -- each song has its own identity, its own personality. Vocalist/songwriter Miller can take his voice from low, calming and clear to raspy, loud and riotous in an instant. And they support it with a full-to-bursting texture, featuring clarinet, trumpet, harmonica and assorted percussion accoutrements on top of all the usual rock suspects.
At their most raucous, The Low Anthem sound like a folk-rock-blues jam band, shoutin', hollerin' and lettin' it all hang out, probably at something called a shin-dig. But at their calmest, the music is introspective, evocative, melody-driven and full of all the emoting, intensity and pain you could ever need. And if all that isn't enough for you, The Low Anthem loves you so much (and they haven't even met you!) that two of their live shows can be downloaded in their entirety from their web site.
Here are two of songs from those sessions that depict the two sides of The Low Anthem explained above. Both from the album Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, "Ticket Taker" is a somber ballad whereas "Home I'll Never Be" brings them back to the ho-down.