The latest album for Asheville, N.C.-based progressive roots band River Whyless is called Kindness, A Rebel. Produced by Paul Butler (Devendra Banhart, Michael Kiwanuka), an adventurous, genre-bending sound emerged from the band's previous, more acoustic-based efforts. Its roots-pop sound can conjure parallels to Paul Simon and Ra Ra Riot, with a blend of Appalachian and international sounds adding a distinctive flare.
With drummer Alex McWalters providing inventive, driven grooves, bassist Daniel Shearin also providing background vocals and atmospheric harmonium, the distinct vocals of Ryan O'Keefe and Halli Anderson deliver the band's reflective and often thought-provoking lyrics. "Born In The Right Country" touches on privilege, race, classism and a ruler with "teeth laid in this crown."
"Van Dyke Brown," features a Russian stringed instrument known as the balalaika, with a refrain that finds them at their most Simon-esque. Mountain Stage guitarist Michael Lipton adds some colorful electric guitar to the closer, "Darkness In Mind."
This set includes "War Is Kind," a soft, contemplative story of a mother who lost loved ones to three separate wars, which wasn't heard on the radio broadcast of the show.
River Whyless tours throughout the West Coast in February and March with Darlingside.
- "All Of My Friends"
- "Born In The Right Country"
- "Van Dyke Brown"
- "War Is Kind" (not included on radio broadcast)
- "Motel 6"
- "Darkness In Mind"