The Whiskey Farm will celebrate the release of From the Still at the High Noon Saloon on February 9. This is an early show starting at 5:30 p.m. Mark Croft and Adria Ramos will open.
You can stream and purchase the Whiskey Farm’s 2011 release If I Were You here.
From the Still can be purchased here starting February 9.
The members of the Whiskey Farm are transplants to the city of Madison but a fondness for the city comes through loud and clear on the band’s sophomore release From the Still. Driven by acoustic instruments, strong melodies and multiple harmonies, the music of the Whiskey Farm is distinctly Midwestern, melding pop, folk and bluegrass. All five members sing and their website lists a sixth vocal member.
The band was formed some five years ago by Jason Horowitz, who came to Madison from Milwaukee, via Nashville and Saint Paul. New Jersey native Brett Wilfrid also wrote a couple tracks for From the Still. Both play an assortment of instruments including guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica and piano and share lead vocal duties with Chantelle Thomas providing backups. Bassist Clark Stacer and drummer Matt Brown round out the band and the vocal contributions.
From the Still opens with “The Boys of Forrest Hill,” a folk song dedicated to Madison’s historic Forrest Hill Cemetery and the civil war casualties who lie there. The song is punctuated by some tasty acoustic guitar picking by Wilfrid while Wilfrid propels the rhythm forward with banjo. Even Stacer gets in on the act taking an unexpected bass solo. “The Day the Tractors Came to Town” is another distinctly Madison track referencing the recent protests. The breezy “The River Runs” is nearly a dead ringer for Dylan’s ”You’re Going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go” from his masterful Blood on the Tracks album complete with mournful harmonica and crisp acoustic guitar. “Enough for Me” is a love song that allows Thomas to share verses with Horowitz and spotlight her fine voice. “The Promise” is another fine pop song with soaring harmonies and an uplifting chorus.
Horowitz’s compositions are well-constructed, if a bit sugary, always resolving to the tonic and contrasted with well-constructed bridges; “A Time to Choose” and “First Night of Summer” being prime examples. Wilfrid’s compositions are a little more straightforward and jam/newgrass-influenced. “Boss ‘n Me” is a somewhat comical take on a work relationship. Although the final track “Saturday” is credited as a group composition, it feels like one of Wilfrid’s and exposes a Grateful Dead influence. This track, and Wilfrid’s “She Knows” are the only two to employ electric guitar.
The Whiskey Farm are building a strong base of support as evidenced by the successful Pledge Music crowd funding project that allowed From the Still to be financed. They fill a nice nitch in Madison’s music scene which remains, as always, steeped in diversity.